We are taught as children that we can trust our parents, our teachers, our religious leaders, the police, the mayor, and the President of the United States. It is their duty to care for us, to mean us well, and to do only good. We can trust them; until we can’t.
The Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) announced awards of more than $144 million to enhance services for victims of crime nationwide. OJJDP awarded more than $54 million to support the effective investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases and improve positive outcomes for child abuse and neglect victims. This includes OJJDP's support of children's advocacy centers (CACs) to address child abuse and neglect and training and technical assistance for CACs, multidisciplinary teams, and child abuse professionals.
OJJDP also awarded funds to support Court Appointed Special Advocate programs nationwide and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges to improve juvenile justice and dependency systems’ response to child abuse and neglect, as well as child sexual exploitation and sex trafficking. In addition, OJP awarded nearly $101 million to combat human trafficking.
View the OJP fact sheets for additional information about the awards to improve services for victims and the awards to combat human trafficking.
With the onset of the corona virus pandemic and the issuance of “stay at home” orders closing schools and businesses in many local communities, child abuse reports have plummeted across the country. The agencies, which provide support for families and children as abuse cases move through the justice system, reported serving 40,000 fewer children nationwide between January and June of this year than the same period last year, from 192,367 children in 2019 down to 152,016 this year, a 21% drop, according to the National Children’s Alliance, an accrediting body for a network of 900 children’s advocacy centers. Reports of abuse have declined dramatically, they say, not because it isn’t happening, but because with everyone “sheltering in place”, teachers, doctors and others have fewer ways of catching it.