MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Many advocates believe child abuse is increasing during the pandemic, since children have limited access to teachers or anyone to reach out to for help.
Since the closure of schools in West Virginia, reports of child abuse numbers have dropped significantly to the department of human resources.
“School typically report majority of child abuse cases. So, it is not the child abuse that suddenly had a miraculous eradication. What is happening is those children no longer have access to mandate a reporter,” explained See Hear Intervene Empower Lead Defend Founder Robert Peters.
The SHIELD task force and Libera partnered together and created four wellness videos to help children with critical safety information and resources.
“So, what we wanted to do is develop these videos that address not just body safety issues, online safety issues, but also wellness tips,” described Peters.
On Wednesday, those four videos were launched. There are two videos on body and safety and two videos for online safety. The videos are catered to grades K-12 and are about 20 minutes long. They can be used as remote personal and digital wellness lessons by schools or as talking points for parents and communities on staying safe online.
“Teachers, educators, advocates or even families and churches can take these videos and give them directly to kids. It includes resources that kids can reach out to us if they need assistance or help,” said Peters.
SHIELD is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) that Robert Peters founded when he was a prosecutor in West Virginia in conjunction with several others. The goal of the organization is to be proactive when it comes to addressing child abuse.
Libera incorporated is also a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization mainly based in Monongalia County. They work to empower youth mainly women and girls.