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Child abuse dangers during COVID-19

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CHARLESTON, W.V. (WOWK) – Families are stuck at home with one another while the state, country, and world battles COVID-19.

For some, it might be annoying or aggravating at times, but for others, it is dangerous and unsafe.

“Kids are not as safe at home, as they are in other places, the kids that are being abused,” said Kate Flack, the Chief Executive Officer for West Virginia Child Advocacy Network, or WV CAN. “We also know school personnel are 1 in 5 the people who make reports. So having less contact with community based resources, makes kids more at risk.”

Flack says some children are spending this self-quarantine locked behind doors, with their abusers.

“Part of our team is child protective services,” said Flack.

Even in these uncertain times, CPS case workers are still visiting homes; trying to keep children safe.

“They’re trying to get as much protective gear as possible to make sure they’re safe out in the field,” said Flack.

The month of April is also ‘Child Abuse Awareness Month.’ To shed some light on that cause, WV CAN has started a new campaign, which includes dandelions.

“We’re starting what we’re calling ‘Share Your Shine,’ to draw the awareness to the issue of child abuse; but also the resiliency of survivors, and the work being done on the ground by child advocacy centers across the country,” said Flack.

Anyone can participate in the ‘Share Your Shine’ campaign, by posting selfies, holding dandelions, and hashtagging #ShareYourShine.

And why dandelions? Because they’re resilient.

“We realize that kids are at higher risk now, we wanted to send the message of hope,” said Flack.

Flack also encourages anyone who might suspect child abuse in their neighborhood, to call WV CAN immediately. The hotline number is 1-800-352-6513.

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