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Child abuse calls down in Bexar Co. during coronavirus outbreak

The number of child abuse calls in Bexar County and across Texas have dropped, but child welfare experts say it doesn’t mean there is a decrease in abuse.

SAN ANTONIO — SAN ANTONIO – The number of child abuse cases in Bexar County and across Texas have dropped but child welfare experts say the decline doesn’t mean there is a decrease in abuse.

Child Protective Services shared data with KENS 5 about the total number of people who have recently, called the Texas Child Abuse Hotline. 

March 2nd in Bexar County, 181 people compared to March 23rd, there were 158 calls. The statewide numbers also, showed a decline in reported cases. February 23-29, there were 11,179 total calls versus March 16-22, 9,344 total calls.

The coronavirus pandemic forced schools and some daycare centers to close. Child welfare experts say there's been less people who have been able to report the abuse or neglect.  

“The people who usually see these children and have eyes on these children are not seeing them every day. Some of our reporters, are those in the school system. Those are the teachers, the nurses, and the counselors,” explained Mary Walker, CPS spokesperson.

“You have a child that in the past, his or her safe space was a school. They don’t have that venue anymore. They don’t have that outlet. So, now they’re indoors with the abuser,” said Harry Jimenez, retired law enforcement officer. “Unfortunately, we’re going to have to wait until after all this ends. Hopefully we don’t have to get a call where we are too late to save that child.”

Despite the new stay home order for San Antonio and Bexar County limits, CPS encourages people to still contact them if they witness abuse or neglect.

“We are investigating anything that we gather. All of the cases that get called in the hotline, we get,” said Walker.

The hotline number is 1-800-252-5400. The coronavirus pandemic may also, be adding to the stress with family’s. Adults are having to work from home, dealing with a job loss or facing health issues. There is a free resource online for families to handle kids at every age.

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