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ON POINT: Expert's take on rise in child abuse cases during COVID-19 pandemic Updated: 2021-11-19 05:37:26 KST

Now it’s time for On Point, where we speak to experts to delve deeper into the biggest news stories in the spotlight right now.
Today - November 19th - is World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse.
Unfortunately, countless studies have shown sexual, physical and mental abuse of school-aged kids has skyrocketed during the pandemic, especially when widespread stay-at-home orders are in effect.
This is the same worldwide, not just in South Korea.
While there is no conclusive link yet, some experts have speculated that COVID-19 and pandemic-related stresses create a "perfect storm" for abuse.
Making matters even more depressing, such studies only scratch the surface as the vast majority of child abuse cases are never reported due to youngsters feeling scared, humiliated, confused or isolated.
For more, we connect to Aly Suh, Professor of Psychology at Sungshin Women's University.
Good morning Professor.
Professor, do we have clear evidence showing anti-virus response measures heighten the risk of child abuse - both in South Korea and abroad?

Since the pandemic has made it harder for kids who are victims of abuse to seek help, as more time stuck at home limits their social interactions, in your view, after some three years, is it time to keep schools open no matter how severe the COVID situation is at any given time?

For people who think they may’ve seen signs of child abuse - things like unexplained injuries, unaddressed medical needs or unexplained changes in behavior - what steps can we take in Korea? And is it possible to report such suspicions anonymously?

Since you deal with mental health issues in kids- who are very unlikely to become seriously ill from COVID - are you disappointed the pandemic and related lockdowns overshadow everything, even the happiness and safety of children? In your mind, should the public say enough is enough?

Professor Aly Suh, we appreciate your insights on this serious and sadly underreported problem. We make this our focus every day, not just once a year. Thanks.
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