There’s a hidden threat in Oregon that’s taking its toll on the state’s children. It’s not the pandemic itself, which has thankfully not hit children as hard as adults. However, it’s connected to the pandemic. Despite overall case numbers falling, Oregon child advocates are seeing a rise in complicated, severe cases of child abuse since last March.
The abuse of minors is already hard to spot and handle in the best circumstances. Kids are at the mercy of their caretakers, and many abusers work to make sure that their actions aren’t discovered. Current events have made this even more difficult. If you or your children have been suffering from abuse during the pandemic, you’re not alone. Here’s why child abuse has gotten worse during the months of isolation.
COVID-19’s Correlation to Worse Child Abuse
Declining case numbers at child advocacy organizations don’t mean much considering current events. Many of these organizations rely on mandatory reporters to identify kids suffering from abuse who need help. With shutdowns, lockdowns, and school closures, many mandatory reporters aren’t seeing their charges in person, if they see them at all.
The chance that teachers and caretakers spot the signs of mistreatment over a video call is low, and if a kid simply stops attending classes, there’s little they can do. The child advocates in Oregon have lost one of the main control methods the state had over these all-too-common types of assaults. The result has been a dip in so-called “minor” cases of abuse since these are precisely the cases that are hardest to spot.
This phenomenon is paired with another equally dangerous problem. Many children benefit from the time spent at school or daycare because it allows their abusers to cool off and become less angry. When there’s no time where the kid and the abusive person are kept apart, there’s less time for the situation to de-escalate.
When abusive people have more access to their victims and those victims lose access to advocacy, it’s a recipe for disaster. Oregon’s support networks and hospitals have seen a sharp rise in dramatic, “horrific” cases of child abuse. It’s clear that the pandemic has manufactured the perfect storm for a dangerous and potentially deadly increase in child abuse and injuries.
How Divorce Can Protect Your Children in Oregon
If you’re taking the time to read this article, it’s unlikely that you are physically abusive to your child. However, you may be looking for resources because you’ve realized your partner is hurting your children. If you believe that your spouse is putting your children in danger, then you have an obligation to do your best to protect them.
The most straightforward route to keeping your children safe is to remove them from the situation as quickly and carefully as possible. The problem is that you need to follow the appropriate legal channels, or you may face repercussions yourself. The only way to make sure your children don’t have to suffer abuse from your spouse any longer is to divorce them and get full custody, so they are entirely removed from your partner’s control.
Divorce is so useful in Oregon for preventing abuse because most courts will award one parent full custody, and the other will receive “parenting time” at most. If you can show that your ex-spouse hurt your kids, it’s much more likely that they won’t even receive parenting time. As a result, you can remove your children from their influence entirely.
That’s easier said than done, but it’s worthwhile. If you’re not yet ready to begin the divorce process, then you should at least start documenting abusive events so you have plenty of evidence for ending your spouse’s right to custody in the future. Regardless, the most critical step is to begin a divorce as quickly as possible with the right legal team on your side.
Protecting Your Child During the Divorce
First and foremost, during the divorce process, you should keep your child from getting abused further. This may mean moving to a different location, or it may mean sending your children to live with a supportive, safe family member for a while. Depending on your spouse’s behavior, you may even need to reach out to local shelters to inquire about domestic abuse resources.
You can and should also apply for an emergency custody order. These orders can be vital for removing your kids from danger immediately, without giving their abuser the chance to take out any frustrations on them.
Emergency Custody and Child Abuse
Emergency orders take effect immediately, but courts are often cautious about issuing them. That’s why having a substantial collection of evidence of the mistreatment is so essential. Evidence for abuse can include medical reports, eyewitness testimony, and the testimony of your child themselves.
If a judge determines that you are in an emergency situation, they can set up several orders immediately. First, they will likely issue an emergency custody order, giving you full custody over your kids until the divorce’s court date.
Second, if they believe your spouse may act out in the meantime, they may also issue an emergency protective order against them. This can help you stay safe when your partner is at their most dangerous. Having the right legal representation can help you improve your chances of getting these emergency orders as quickly and cleanly as possible.
No child deserves to be abused, ever. Any moves you can make to improve your child’s life and remove their exposure to an abusive person are noble, even if they’re hard. Luckily, you don’t have to take these steps alone.
If you need to escape an abusive situation, you can get help. The experienced team at Regele Law, LLC can help you get the resources and legal representation you need to get your kids out of a bad situation as quickly as possible. Take the next steps today to get out of danger. You and your kids deserve it.