Angelina Jolie pens op-ed about the increase in child abuse during coronavirus isolation
- Jolie penned an op-ed in Time magazine describing the abuse that children may be exposed to while forced to self-quarantine at home
- She said mass layoffs and economic insecurity may increase ‘the risk of domestic violence’
- Isolation at home, while necessary, mimics the tactics of domestic abusers
- Jolie writes that no access to meals at school harms children suffering from food insecurity
- The actress urged people to call friends and family members, ‘particularly where we might have concerns that someone is vulnerable’
Published: | Updated:
The 44-year-old actress and activist noted that children may be ‘especially vulnerable’ to the pandemic’s ‘secondary’ effects, even though they’re more resistant to its physical symptoms.
‘Isolating a victim from family and friends is a well-known tactic of control by abusers, meaning that the social distancing that is necessary to stop COVID-19 is one that will inadvertently fuel a direct rise in trauma and suffering for vulnerable children,’ wrote Jolie.
Raising awarness: Angelina Jolie, 44, published an op-ed in Time magazine Thursday about the rising domestic violence crisis for children isolating at home amid the coronavirus pandemic; pictured in 2018
She explained that many children may be at a greater risk of experiencing domestic abuse amid shelter-in-place orders and economic insecurity.
Jolie noted that ‘lockdowns and stay at home orders have resulted in job losses and economic insecurity, increasing stress, pressure and uncertainty for many families,’ and that ‘stress at home increases the risk of domestic violence.’
She also noted stories of increasing domestic violence throughout the world as people are forced to stay inside together.
Double-edged sword: Isolating victims ‘is a well-known tactic of control by abusers, meaning that the social distancing that is necessary to stop COVID-19 is one that will inadvertently fuel a direct rise in trauma and suffering for vulnerable children,’ wrote Jolie; shown in 2018 on a mission for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees at a refugee camp in Jordan
The effects of the pandemic can be particularly unfortunate for children because it comes ‘at a time when children are deprived of the very support networks that help them cope: from their trusted friends and teachers to after-school sports activities and visits to a beloved relative’s house that provide an escape from their abusive environment,’ she added.
Many lower income children depend on their schools to provide meals throughout the day, but they’re also ‘a lifeline of opportunity as well as a shield, offering protection … from violence, exploitation and other difficult circumstances, including sexual exploitation, forced marriage and child labor and domestic violence.
‘It’s not just that children have lost support networks,’ Jolie continued. ‘Lockdown also means fewer adult eyes on their situation. In child abuse cases, Child Protective Services are most often called by third parties such as teachers, guidance counselors, after school program coordinators and coaches.’
Cut off: The actress wrote that the; effects of the pandemic would be particularly unfortunate because children have already been separated from their support networks; shown in 2015
Stepping up: She urged concerned readers to ‘make a point of calling family or friends, particularly where we might have concerns that someone is vulnerable’; pictured in 2015
The humanitarian and actress gave her readers some clear-cut steps they could follow to make sure that children were safe, including to ‘make a point of calling family or friends, particularly where we might have concerns that someone is vulnerable.’
She also urged readers to become familiar with the signs of domestic abuse so as to spot them more easily and to support local domestic violence shelters.
‘It is often said that it takes a village to raise a child,’ Jolie wrote. ‘It will take an effort by the whole of our country to give children the protection and care they deserve.’
Doing her part: Jolie has donated $1 million to an organization providing food to children who relied on school meals. She’s also working with UNESCO to increase online learning across the world; pictured in 2015
Jolie has long used her fame for good. Last month, she donated $1 million to No Kid Hungry to distribute food to children who previously depended on meals at school.
The mother of six is also working with UNESCO on efforts to make online learning more accessible for children quarantined across the globe.
The whole gang: Angelina pictured in 2019 with her children: (L-R) Knox, 11, Vivienne, 11, Pax, 16, Shiloh, 13, Zahara, 15, and Maddox, 18