The National Children's Advocacy Center wants parents to keep an especially close eye on their children this holiday season.
The group says children are in greater danger because they’re out of school. The center has seen more than double its average case load after this week after Thanksgiving break.
Erica Hochberger, a trauma therapist, said she knows first-hand as a parent the holidays can be stressful.
“There's the stress of my house has to be perfect and money and groceries and cooking and all of this stuff. I think all together it can make it harder to supervise which means if someone is around your child with intent to harm them then they have more opportunity," she explained.
Hochberger said therapists at the National Children's Advocacy Center for Madison County have already worked on nine cases this week which is more than double their normal case load.
"We noticed we see more child abuse cases after vacations like that," she said.
She encourages every parent to have a conversation with their child to empower them to not feel forced into any situation when it comes to interacting with relatives or other adults during the holidays.
“If you don’t know them as well, then it’s okay to say hi and talk to them. You don’t have to climb up in their lap. You don’t have to hug them," she said.
She advises any parent who has a child come forward about being abused to stay calm, trust their child and contact authorities.
"You’re going to be shocked, and it’s going to be hard to believe it because it’s probably going to be somebody that you trust. No matter how much you know and how prepared you are, I don’t know if it’s possible to be perfect just in that moment," she said.
"Hochberger said if there are any parents who have been approached by their child recently or even a long time ago about being abused, it's not too late to call authorities and she encourages them to do so.
The Advocacy center does child abuse training courses for parents and anyone who works around kids to teach them warning signs and how to react properly to situations.