COVID-19 and Mental Health Considerations Amid Reintegration to School

3.0 Abuse, Neglect and Domestic Violence

Childhood should be carefree, playing in the sun; not living a nightmare in the darkness of the soul.

- Dave Pelzer

Please Note: This is not considered “training” and is not sufficient to meet any legal requirements for training. It is important to be properly trained, especially on issues related to students.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the increase in vulnerability due to limited resources and the need for survival, has led to increased stress and pressures in families and relationships. The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) commissioned research which found that Hurricane Harvey and the stress associated with the disaster led to increased rates of domestic violence and child abuse, both during and after the hurricane. Social factors including job loss, reduced or limited access to resources, and disconnection from support systems can increase the risk for violence.

Children are especially vulnerable to the secondary effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as there are diminished resources that parents rely on to reduce their stress, obtain support, or get a break. Violence in the home increases the risk for child abuse and neglect and can lead to later adverse health and mental health outcomes for children. In addition to physical injuries, it can result in cognitive impairment and developmental delays, school performance issues, behavioral health diagnoses, suicidal and self-harm behavior, relationship and attachment issues, and risk-taking behaviors such as running away or substance use.

As students and staff return to school, awareness of the signs and symptoms of abuse, neglect, and domestic violence, is key for intervention.

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Download Section 3: Abuse, Neglect and Domestic Violence