(KSHB/NBC News) – Nurses at Children’s Mercy Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri have noticed that since the COVID-19 pandemic began, fewer sexual abuse victims are coming in for care.
“We can attribute some of that, just when we look at national trends, to the fact that kids aren’t coming in contact with mandated reporters — teachers, therapists, people they typically see in person and disclose abuse to,” said Heidi Olson, manager of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program at the hospital.
Children are at home and in front of screens even more, increasing the chances that they will come into contact with a predator.
“We try to ask specific questions so that we can correlate that kids are being exploited online,” Olson said. “We track if they met their perpetrator online, so there are different ways we’re gathering this data.”
Children’s Mercy has been tracking this data for the last two years.
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