Protecting or Hurting: How COVID-19 Affected the Lives of Child Abuse Victims




Trokey, Ashlyn T.

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Many unexpected issues arose when schools were shut down and students were sent home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, child abuse victims were left defenseless with their abuser, with no teacher or doctor to be their advocate. This thesis focuses on two counties in Texas: Travis County, an urban community, and Smith County, a rural community. The number of alleged child abuse cases and the number of completed CPS investigations from 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015, and 2020 were studied to determine a spike in reported abuse during state-wide quarantines. The data proved a significant spike in the amount of abuse in both Travis and Smith County. Additionally, there is an organization in each county that provides aid to victims of child abuse. Texas Advocacy Project in Travis County and Hope Haven of East Texas in Smith County had to adapt to continue helping children during school shutdowns. Important information from interviews with individuals from both organizations is included to reveal how the organizations were affected by COVID-19 quarantines. Both organizations had unique approaches to addressing the school lockdowns while simultaneously increasing their aid to abused children. These organizations adapted to COVID-19 quarantines, and the changes that were made reflect the spike in overall child abuse cases during 2020.



COVID-19, child abuse, Texas, quarantine, organization, CPS, Honors College


Trokey, A. T. (2021). Protecting or hurting: How COVID-19 affected the lives of child abuse victims (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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