Tuesday, 30 March 2021
Written by Faith Boehmer
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and for the past 11 years our community has honored children by planting blue pinwheels in honor of child abuse prevention. The pinwheel represents the bright future that every child deserves.
The Child Advocacy Center received a total of 876 reports of child abuse during FY 19/20, a 20% increase over FY 18/19. Currently, we are continuing to see those numbers increase as well. For the period July 1 until December 31, 2020, the CAC received a total of 521 reports of suspected abuse, up 29% from the same period in 2019.
This has been a difficult year on so many levels due to the pandemic. COVID-19 has brought about so many changes, as well as uncertainty. These challenges have brought about more time at home, more time on electronic devices and less time being able to safely socialize with friends in general. Until last week, children in our community had not been inside a classroom since March 13, 2020.
Jeanne Allert, CEO and Founder of The Samaritan Women, in Baltimore, Maryland, presented a webinar about Victimology: Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking. She shared that professionals are already discussing the impact the pandemic may have on children and families once children begin to re-engage in a more traditional school schedule. Educators account for 50% of reports of child abuse.
April is also a time to look forward – a time to be a part of ensuring that every child has a bright future. All children deserve to grow up in loving, stable and stimulating environments, in their home, church, school and in the community. Most of all, we want childhood to be a time when children no longer live in fear.
This year, we want more than ever to have a significant presence with pinwheels heavily displayed throughout our community. We want to cohesively and prominently show that our community supports children. April is an ideal time for our community to reflect and to recognize the children who have been victimized through the pain of abuse — physical, emotional and/or sexual.
At the CAC, our vision is a community where children feel safe, nurtured and loved. April is a time to remind us that no matter the challenges, to include a global pandemic, we face as individuals, caring for all our children must always be our priority.
You can join us in promoting healthy childhoods for our children. You can purchase a pinwheel garden kit (24 pinwheels and a yard sign) for $40 or a Pinwheel Vase (eight pinwheels in a vase with ribbon) for $15. Visit our website CACFayNC.org to place your order. Once you plant your garden of pinwheels or display your pinwheel vase, tag us on your social media, include the following hashtags – #passthepinwheel, #cacfayncpinwheels2021, #pinwheelsforprevention
During the month of April, the CAC will be hosting “Read-Along Story Times” on Tuesday of each week. We will be reading books that talk about body safety, boundaries and how to say no when the child feels uncomfortable. You can view these on the CAC’s Facebook & Instagram pages or on our website CACFayNC.org.
These are great opportunities to talk with your child about appropriate touching and setting boundaries. Research has shown, it is better to start teaching children about body safety when they are young and to continue throughout their childhood. It is never too late to begin.
This April and throughout the year, let’s all join together to provide help, hope and healing to children who have been victimized by abuse. Join us in creating a community (and beyond) where children feel safe to run and play, where all children feel love and accepted versus living in fear.
We hope to see blue pinwheels spinning in the sun and throughout our community this April reminding us all that EACH child deserves a happy childhood.
Community members can join CAC for a virtual Pinwheel Planting at noon on April 1 on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CACFayNC. To learn more about how you can participate, please check out the Facebook page, the website or call 910-486-9700. For more information about April and Child Abuse Prevention, including how to become involved in prevention, follow CAC on social media or visit the website www.CACFayNC.org. Happy Pinwheel Planting!