By Dr. Robert Sege, 5/7/20, positiveexperience.org
Today’s blog is coming from the perspective of Dr. Bob, the pediatrician. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been working with a wonderful team from the American Academy of Pediatrics to develop information for pediatricians around the country. Our goal is to draw pediatricians’ attention to concerns of a possible increase in unreported child abuse during the pandemic. Although child abuse reports are dramatically lower, there are many reasons to worry: families are facing more stress, the routines of both parents and children have been dramatically disrupted, and social connection, an important protective factor for children and families, has become vastly more difficult. We’ve already heard sporadic reports of increased incidence of severe child abuse. Additionally, there is historical precedent—child abuse rates have risen in past disasters.
Working with the American Academy of Pediatrics on this issue brought to mind some of the other problems that doctors worry about now. In the following sections, we explore some of these problems and how HOPE can frame our thinking around potential solutions.