Even as many schools are closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic, the work that people like you support continues to save children’s lives. News outlets are reporting that gun violence is on the rise and related deaths are eclipsing the virus in some communities, even as there is a decline in the overall crime rate.1
This is echoed in our own work. At our 24/7 crisis center, the percentage of “life-safety” tips ̶ where at least one life is in danger ̶ have more than doubled since the shelter-in-place orders began. Reports of abuse, suicidal ideation, depression, cyberbullying, cutting, and other self-harm are also on the rise nationwide.
Dedicated crisis counselors are extending a life-line for students who may have nowhere else to turn during this difficult time of distancing and isolation. As someone who cares about protecting children from gun violence, we hope you’ll take a moment to read some of the stories they’ve shared since the quarantine began:
"A student self-reported that they were feeling helpless and considering suicide. They stated that they felt alone and that no one was there for them, especially during quarantine. Not only did the student have active suicide ideation, but they also had a plan in place and access to a weapon. The tip was designated as “Life-Safety,” and the Crisis Center continued to dialogue with the tipster until local police arrived. The student was then transported to the hospital."
"A tipster reported that they and their siblings were being abused by their parents, who both regularly overused alcohol. The tipster provided information about situations in which the siblings had objects thrown at them and been struck in the face with a closed fist. The tipster also detailed the events with screenshots that put one of the siblings in the hospital and caused another sibling to be suicidal. The tipster also explained that familial tensions and the siblings’ fear were even higher than usual due to the quarantine. The Crisis Center designated the tip as “Life-Safety,” made contact with the school of one of the siblings. Police arrived at the siblings’ residence and intervened. The school followed up with additional support and services."
Seeing these tips coming in every day is heart-wrenching. Yet knowing our skilled counselors are supporting these kids and, when needed, working directly with schools and law enforcement to intervene gives us hope.
Most importantly, kids are recognizing the warning signs of violence and speaking up to get help. This is Sandy Hook Promise in action. Join nearly 5 million caring citizens and Make the Promise with us