HOUSTON – With children spending all their time at home, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez is urging adults to be more vigilant about the children around them and to keep an eye out for signs of abuse.
“The number one reporters of child abuse are teachers,” Sheriff Ed Gonzalez wrote in a tweet. “But kids aren’t seeing them right now. Neighbors and other family members, PLEASE pay close attention.”
We cannot let a health pandemic become a child abuse pandemic! The number one reporters of child abuse are teachers, but kids aren’t seeing them right now. Neighbors and other family members, PLEASE pay close attention. Learn more at @Childhelp & the National Child Abuse Hotline— Ed Gonzalez (@SheriffEd_HCSO) March 23, 2020
"It’s the time to be proactive (about child abuse) because we may be in this for the long haul,” Gonzalez told KPRC 2 in an interview.
“If you hear what sounds like painful screaming, things like that, that would be a red flag,” Gonzalez said. “You see clear bruising or things like that, anything like that… make sure and call the authorities and let us know, because we need to know.”
The Texas Department of Family Services offers educational videos and other materials to support parents and neighbors on its website.
“Right now the children aren’t seeing their teachers,” Gonzalez said. “It behooves all of us to step up, as neighbors, as family members, and keep a close eye, and make sure that we’re paying attention to anything out of the ordinary.”
Suspected child abuse can be reported to local authorities, or using the National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-422-4453 (24 hours a day, seven days a week).