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The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department reported Thursday a disturbing 210% increase in sexual crimes against children so far this year, as 31 have been reported in 2021 compared to 10 in the same time period last year.
Detective Jessica Hall said that the increase in cases is likely due to a delay in reporting as kids didn’t have trusted adults in schools and other social settings amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I believe that’s due to the delay in reporting of the assaults that occurred last year, where the children were with their abusers or were in a situation where they were not safe to tell,” Hall said at a press conference Thursday.
“That being said, kids were removed last year due to COVID-19 — they were removed from student activities, they were removed from school, removed from places where they have a trusted adult.”
Hall said that as the year goes on, she expects more and more kids who were in abusive situations during the pandemic to start confiding in adults they can trust at school.
“I believe this is actually an underreported number of assaults that are occurring, and we’ll see the ripple effect of that for years to come,” she said Thursday.
Students returned to school in droves in the spring as coronavirus cases fell and vaccines became available.
By the end of May, 69.6% of K-12 students were going to school for in-person instruction every day, 28.3% were in a hybrid model, and just 2.1% were virtual-only, according to Burbio, a data analytics company that tracks 80,000 K-12 school calendars from all 50 states.
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