WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Even though child abuse reports are down, lawmakers believe the problem is on the rise. They fear the pandemic is making it harder for victims to speak out or get help.

“We’ve got to provide support for families and provide support to organizations that are combating child abuse,” Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey said.

That’s why Casey, along with several other lawmakers, introduced the Emergency Funding for Child Protection Act.

“About a billion dollars more for nonprofit organizations that are dealing with this problem … and secondly to provide $500 million for an increase in efforts to provide more technology and more Personal Protective Equipment,” Casey said.

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine supports the bill and says there’s a real need for the increased funding.

“… To deal with a child welfare problem that is systematically worse during this pandemic crisis,” Kaine said.

Casey and Kaine say economic troubles are a major contributing factor to the increase in child abuse. West Virginia Sen.Shelley Moore Capito agrees.

“You can imagine with job loss and economic uncertainty and health uncertainty, putting a lot of pressure on the home and then the children become the victims of a lot of that,” Capito said.

Lawmakers hope to add the extra funds to the next coronavirus relief bill.