Local child advocacy center hosts awareness event as abuse reports increase

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Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 6:51 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - The Kentucky River Children’s Advocacy Center reported an 83% increase of physical child abuse since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

The Care Cottage hosted an awareness event in response to a spike in reports. Organizations were lined up, showing unity no matter their position in the community.

“It increases awareness for things that go on that a lot of people don’t even really know about. I mean, some of this stuff flies under the radar and people don’t know about it,” Perry County Commonwealth’s Attorney Scott Blair said.

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The Care Cottage conducted 19 forensic interviews in one week during the month of March. That is the most executive director Pamela Carey has seen in that time span.

“Since I have been here, which 2015 is when I first came on board here, we would conduct an average of 200 forensic interviews per year. Well, during this March of 2023, we actually conducted 40 interviews just in March,” Pamela Carey said.

Forensic interviews occur when child abuse is reported.

Educators filed 30% of the reports that the Care Cottage has received, which Carey said shows the reports could be correlating with schools reopening.

“We’ve got kids back in school. So, they’re around teachers. Other people are seeing them and so forth. So, there’s been a lot more eyes on the kids to be able to see and report that we did not have with Covid,” Pamela Carey said.

Beyond educators, part of the awareness event at New Hope Church was getting people from any demographic ready to report.

“Children are the very definition of innocent and weak. So, I think that the measure of society is how well they take care of their innocent and their weak. So, by doing this, we are promoting awareness,” Scott Blair said.

The Care Cottage will be hosting an open house on April 6 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.