NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Covid-19 shutdowns have made it more difficult for authorities to step in to stop child abuse.

Child protection leaders are asking for the public’s help in detecting ongoing child abuse while the COVID-19 shutdowns keep kids away from the adults who normally step in to help. According to the Northwestern DA’s office, reports of child abuse have plummeted.

Mandated reporters for child abuse include teachers, medical providers, therapists, and clergy. The problem is, none of those groups are having in-person interaction with children during the state of emergency.

The DA’S office is asking the public to keep an eye on kids who may be abused during this difficult time. Signs include physical appearance, signs of violence, or drug and alcohol abuse.

You should notify the Department of Children and Families if you see some that may look unusual or concerning.