Angelina Jolie is speaking out in support of children. In an op-ed for Time, the 44-year-old actress writes about the safety of children amid the coronavirus pandemic. Though kids aren’t as susceptible to the virus itself, Jolie writes that they are “especially vulnerable to so many of the secondary impacts of the pandemic on society.”
The main vulnerability that Jolie focuses on is abuse, something that she writes is more likely during these times because kids are being required to self-isolate alongside their parents or guardians.
“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,” she writes. “There are already reports of a surge in domestic violence around the world, including violent killings.”
Another aspect of the isolation is that children have now been cut off “from their friends, their regular schooling and their freedom of movement.”
“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,” Jolie writes.
For many kids, Jolie writes, schools serve as “a lifeline of opportunity as well as a shield offering protection — or at least a temporary reprieve — 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,” she adds. “Lockdown also means fewer adult eyes on their situation.”
While we must remain physically isolated during this time, the mom of six encourages people to “make a point of calling family or friends, particularly where we might have concerns that someone is vulnerable.”
In addition to reaching out to people, Jolie suggests educating yourself on the signs of abuse, supporting local domestic violence centers, reading guides provided by The Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, and reaching out to The Child Helpline Network for advice and help as needed.
“It is often said that it takes a village to raise a child,” she writes. “It will take an effort by the whole of our country to give children the protection and care they deserve.”
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