Charlottesville Community Coming Together to Prevent Child Abuse

Posted: Updated:

Several Charlottesville agencies are collaborating in April in an effort to involve the entire community in preventing child abuse and neglect.

Experts from almost 10 different Charlottesville groups have been planning Child Abuse Prevention Month for the past year to keep children safe and guarantee a stronger future.

Every 83 minutes a child is abused or neglected. Every 10 days one of those children dies. These are just some of this year's statistics released by the Virginia Coalition for Child Abuse Prevention.

"It is much higher than anyone would want to think about," said Carol Fox, project leader with Safe Schools/Healthy Students.

In an effort to change the trends, Charlottesville area organizations are coming together to try to end child abuse.

"For any child who is abused, their life is forever altered," Fox said. "And although we can provide numerous services to them, to help them be successful in life, their life is altered."

Treatment specialists through the Children, Youth, and Family Services' Victims of Child Abuse program say patience and persistence are key to prevention.

"It's important to remember that with issues that are so serious and so difficult as child abuse that it can take a while so it can certainly be a process of positive growth and positive change but amazingly we do see that," said Katie Anne Padalino, a treatment specialist in the Victims of Child Abuse Program.

Change that counselors say will only happen through collaboration within the community.

"Child abuse is a community-wide problem and it's going to take a community-wide effort to make progress and succeed in actually preventing child abuse," Padalino said.

A pinwheel garden planting event will kick off Child Abuse Prevention Month Tuesday morning.  Click here for a full list of Child Abuse Prevention Month activities.