ST. LOUIS ( -- Experts say there could be other indirect victims of the virus: children.

Advocates worry that instances of child abuse may skyrocket during stay-at-home order.

People are at home, cooped-up with few places to go. Then add to that other stress-and financial worries, that, experts say, can be a recipe for disaster for children susceptible to child abuse.

Maren Mellem with the child advocacy center says she’s worried for children. Child abuse, she fears is on the rise.

“We think it is increasing, because children are home and parent incredibly stressed during these difficult times,” Mellem said.

But calls to local and state child abuse hotlines are down around 50%.

“With children out of school and not seeing teams and coaches and going to houses of worship, there are just fewer eyes on children, making them even more vulnerable right now,” she said.

That’s why she says it’s even more important to watch out for signs of abuse.

“Please, keep an eye out on kiddos and if you see a child that looks unsafe, please do report that to the department of social services so we can impart some resources to those families,” Mellem said.

There are resources out there for parents who are feeling stressed or angry. experts urge you to reach out if you need help.:

Visit here if you might need help.

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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