ATLANTA - The number of domestic violence cases at Georgia hospitals has increased and reports of child abuse have dramatically dropped, according to Gov. Brian Kemp.
During a press conference Wednesday, Kemp said that the number of cases is an unintended side effect of the coronavirus response.
"We were told by one area Atlanta hospital they have seen a 15 percent increase in domestic violence cases in their facility," the governor said, adding the report is "disturbing and alarming and cannot be tolerated."
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The governor also said the state has seen a sharp drop in the number of reported child abuse cases.
"We are also seeing a reduction of child abuse. Likely a consequence of our educators not having as much facetime with Georgia students," Kemp said.
The governor said teachers and administrators are often on the first line of the fight against child abuse and a lack of reports does not mean it isn't happening.
"Now, that the schools are closed we must remain vigilant about this problem and continue to work to remedy it."
The governor urges anyone who knows about a domestic violence situation or if someone needs help leaving an abusive relationship should call 1-800-33-HAVEN. That's the Georgia Domestic Violence Hotline and again that number is 1-800-334-2836.
The governor said anyone who suspects a child is being abused or neglected or a child in crisis should call 1-855-GACHILD. The Georgia Child Protective Services Hotline again is 1-855-422-4453.
Both hotlines are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, if there's an immediate need for law enforcement intervention, call 911.