Durbin Speaks With National Children's Alliance About COVID-19 Pandemic's Impact On Child Abuse

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) spoke by phone today with National Children’s Alliance members about the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the 40 Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) in Illinois and the families they serve. On the call, Durbin heard from child protection professionals about their concerns that, despite a lower number of reported cases, child abuse may have increased during the pandemic due to unemployment, economic stress, and isolation with abusive parents or siblings. Without interaction with mandatory reporters like teachers, many cases of child abuse have gone undetected.

Durbin also spoke in support of federal funding from the Victims of Child Abuse Act and the Victims of Crime Act, which provide millions of dollars annually to support CACs in Illinois with trauma-informed care to children and critical training for law enforcement, prosecutors, and child abuse professionals. On the call, the Illinois CACs reported to Durbin that, due to recent federal funding, all 102 counties in Illinois are now served by CACs.

“For 25 years, the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Illinois have offered critical, comprehensive support to children experiencing trauma and abuse. With the COVID-19 pandemic creating a dangerous environment of isolation for many children, we must ensure that resources like CACs have the funding to provide advocacy, medical, and mental health referrals to help those in need begin the healing process,” said Durbin. “I am pleased that federal funding has enabled the reach of critical CAC services to be expanded to children in all 102 counties in Illinois, and I will continue to fight for this crucial funding through the appropriations process.”