Angelina Jolie doesn’t want the public to forget about victims of child abuse amid the coronavirus pandemic. In an opinion piece written for Time Magazine, Jolie wrote that although children seem to be less susceptible to the virus, they are “especially vulnerable to so many of the secondary impacts of the pandemic on society.”
“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,” Jolie wrote in the piece.
The actress and director also wrote that the pandemic had caused children to be isolated from many of the networks they normally rely on for support. They aren’t able to see their friends, teachers they trust, or engage in any sort of extracurricular activity. These children are also isolated from relatives who may provide a reprieve from their abusive home environments.
Jolie, who is herself the mother of six children, also pointed out that for many students, school serves as a lifeline outside of their homes.
“It’s not just that children have lost support networks. Lockdown also means fewer adult eyes on their situation. In child abuse cases, Child Protective Services are most often called by third parties such as teachers, guidance counselors, after school program coordinators and coaches,” Jolie wrote.
Jolie then asked what other adults were doing to ensure that children weren’t confined to the abuse that some of them get at home. She asked those reading the piece to make an effort to call family and friends, particularly in situations where some abuse is suspected.
She concluded by saying that, while it’s often said that it takes a village to raise a child, it will take an entire nation to protect the most vulnerable children in the country during this pandemic.
In March, Jolie donated $1 million to No Kid Hungry, an organization distributing meals to children who normally rely on school lunches, People reports. The Maleficent: Mistress of Evil actress also made a donation to the UN Refugee Agency and sent additional support to the schools she funds in Afghanistan, Kenya, Namibia and Cambodia.
In Cambodia alone, the actress is currently funding 10 schools, and she sent the additional funds to ensure that the schools would be able to continue educating through the pandemic. The actress is also working with UNESCO on a global scale to help children get access to distant learning as long as the pandemic persists.