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Reports of Child Abuse in Wisconsin Dropped in 2020

Wednesday, April 7th, 2021 -- 12:01 PM

(WMTV) -States across the country saw reports of child abuse drop during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Wisconsin, those numbers fell by nearly 25 percent.  According to the Department of Children and Families, between March and November of 2019, there were 61,611 reports to Child Protective Services. During the same time period in 2020, there were 46,415.

The state Department of Public Instruction (DPI) said the drop is related to kids not being in school during the pandemic. According to DPI, teachers make up a fifth of reports to Child Protective Services, but when schools shut down, seeing the signs of abuse became harder.

According to DPI, teachers make up 21 percent of reports to Child Protective Services and law enforcement, but in 2020, that dropped to just 14 percent.  With kids not in front of their teachers, the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) hoped a new program could help.

They rolled out the Speak Up Speak Out program in September 2020, another resource for students and staff.  With more kids going back to school in-person, Incitti said reports of child abuse could rise, but schools will work to keep the community as safe as possible and get kids the help they need.

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