—Calls and text messages to a child abuse hotline increased in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a research letter published online May 3 in JAMA Pediatrics.
Robin Ortiz, M.D., from University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues used restricted-access data from Childhelp to assess the volume of calls and texts to a national child abuse hotline during the pandemic compared to the prior year.
The researchers found that from March to May in 2019 and 2020 combined, Childhelp received 35,480 call and text inquiries, mostly from female individuals (74.63 percent) and adults (≥18 years, 92.97 percent). The vast majority of callers were adults (96 percent), while most texters were younger (
“Our findings suggest that text-based access to hotlines or agencies may be an effective strategy while exposure to mandated reporters, particularly school personnel, remains limited,” the authors write.