“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
— Frederick Douglass
As we’ve shown throughout the month, child abuse and sexual assault can have a lasting negative impact on children. Studies have shown that children exposed to this violence can become vulnerable to experiencing or perpetrating other violence.
To wrap-up Child Abuse Prevention and Sexual Assault Awareness month, we wanted to highlight a growing awareness campaign started by Prevent Child Abuse America.
In many communities across the country, gardens of blue pinwheels have popped up this month. Since 2009, more than 900,000 pinwheels have been displayed across the country as part of Pinwheels for Prevention.
Maureen McKeon, director of communications for the North Carolina chapter, said this year was the largest and most comprehensive Pinwheels for Prevention campaign they’ve ever had with more than 20,000 pinwheels planted to “show their support for healthy child development and to start conversations in their communities about the role all adults have in ensuring all children have the safe, stable, nurturing relationships they need to thrive.”
Below is a quick Q&A with Prevent Child Abuse America director of strategic communications, Ben Tanzer:
Safe Start Center: What is the purpose of the Pinwheels for Prevention and how can people start it in their communities?
Tanzer: The purpose of Pinwheels for Prevention is to change, or transform, the conversation about the prevention of child abuse and neglect from one focused on child death to one [on] healthy child development, solutions and the idea that we all do, and can, play a role in the lives of children and their families. The way people can start this in the communities is to connect with the Prevent Child Abuse America chapter in their state, and if the chapter is not involved with the campaign, contact our national office.
SSC: What is one thing people can do to promote awareness and prevention of child abuse?
Tanzer: Good question. The most important thing though, may be to educate themselves on prevention, the definition, the narrative we are trying to tell, the solutions, and the innovative programming that is happening, and then share this information with everyone – friends, family, people at little league, dance class and places of worship. We need to educate, and activate, the public to become messengers and advocates for this cause.
SSC: Has your organization noticed any trend in child abuse, i.e. is it increasing, declining, staying steady?
Tanzer: Recent studies, the Fourth National Incidence Study [of Child Abuse and Neglect] for example, report that the numbers are declining in general, and there nuances within numbers like that, and debates about whether they are accurate, but the numbers appear to be declining, which may arguably be do the strength of the economy before the recent downturn and the benefits children and families received due to the investment in innovative programming. Now that cuts are starting to happen, we will see if this remains true.
What have you done to spread awareness of child abuse and sexual assault this month? And what other awareness campaigns do you think are making a difference when it comes to child abuse prevention and sexual assault awareness? We’d love to hear about it.
Filed under: child abuse, Public Awareness, Sexual Abuse | Tagged: Child Abuse Prevention Month, childhood exposure to violence, Pinwheels for Prevention, Prevent Child Abuse America, Sexual Assault Awareness Month |