Abuse complaints decline sharply without school oversight

New Mexico

Marylou Ligier takes a to-go order to a patron at her family’s restaurant and pastry shop Clafoutis on Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. An outdoor tent, seen in the reflection of a pastry case, was installed three weeks ago in the parking lot after indoor seating was banned due to COVID-19. Ligier says the tent rental costs thousands of dollars each month, nearly amounting to a second mortgage. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A sharp decline in reports of child abuse and neglect in New Mexico at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic is prompting concerns that problems are going unnoticed while children stay home from school.

The accountability office of the Legislature said Monday that hotline reports of suspected child abuse and neglect declined by 42% in April and 33% in May compared with the prior year.

Across the U.S., about one-fifth of suspected child abuse complaints originate from school staff.

Analysts says its too soon to conclude whether the hardships of the pandemic are influencing rates of child abuse.

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