Impact of the Pandemic on Child Abuse and Neglect
| 4 min read
Dr. Kristyn Gregory, D.O., is a medical director of behavioral health at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Dr. Gregory received her medical degree from the Chicago School of Osteopathic Medicine. She then completed residency training in Adult Psychiatry at Henry Ford, and a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Wayne State University. She is board-certified in Adult, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She has practiced in a variety of settings in the metro Detroit area including inpatient, residential, outpatient, school-based and juvenile justice programs.
Types of abuse
- Physical abuse. A physical injury to a child that’s not an accident and is caused by a parent, caregiver or other person is considered physical abuse. This can include punching, beating, kicking, biting, shaking, throwing, hitting, burning or otherwise causing physical harm.
- Neglect. If the parent or caregiver fails to provide for a child’s basic needs, this is considered neglect. This could mean lack of food or shelter, lack of medical treatment, lack of educational opportunities or inattention to a child’s emotional needs, including failure to provide psychological care.
- Sexual abuse. Activities performed by a parent or caregiver including fondling, penetration, incest, rape, sodomy, indecent exposure and exploitation through prostitution or through pornographic photos or videos are all considered sexual abuse.
- Emotional abuse. Any pattern of behavior by a parent or caregiver that impairs a child’s emotional development or sense of self-worth is considered emotional, or psychological, abuse. This can include withholding love and support, threats and/or constant criticism.
- Abandonment. If a parent’s identity or whereabouts are unknown and the child has been left alone in a circumstance where they suffer serious harm or their health and safety are serious risk, this is considered abandonment. Also, if a parent has not maintained contact with their child or provided support, this can also be considered abandonment. In some states abandonment is a form of neglect.
Signs of abuse
- Fear of being at home
- Falling asleep in class or frequently fatigued
- Lack of impulse or emotional control
- Self-destructive behaviors
- Significant weight changes
- Frequent hunger, inappropriate clothes for the season and poor hygiene
- Swollen lips or chipped teeth
- Unexplained cuts, bruises, bite marks, burns, or other physical injuries
- Withdrawing from others or uncomfortable with physical contact
Report child abuse and neglect
- Call 911 if someone is in immediate and serious danger
- Contact a local law enforcement agency
- Contact local child protective services – in Michigan call 855-444-3911 any time day or night to report abuse or neglect
- Child Abuse Prevention as Public Health
- CEO: Blue Cross Partnering to Address Urgent Issues of Child Abuse, Neglect
- Pinwheel Gardens Symbolize Our Role in Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect