Organizations planting pinwheels to prevent child abuse in Virginia

Published: Apr. 5, 2022 at 2:45 PM EDT
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - More than 30,000 cases of child abuse were reported in Virginia 2021. Now, services across Albemarle County are raising awareness to protect children.

“People were driving by, and they often pass right by what’s happening right in front of them,” Foothills Child Advocacy Center Executive Director Cynthia Hurst said Tuesday, April 5.

Hurst says child abuse is more common than most people realize.

“We’re seeing more serious cases. They’re ending up in the emergency room first. We’re also seeing more suicidal ideology among the children,” Hurst said. “Children are more often abused by people that they know.”

Now Hurst and others are coming together to try and prevent child abuse by planting pinwheels.

“This is to bring some shiny thing that will attract their attention and get them to look at the sign that says, ‘Hey, child abuse, let’s do what we can to prevent it,’” Hurst said.

J.J. Davis, an investigator with Child Protective Services in Albemarle County, says he’s worked with newborns and children up to 18 years old.

“It can happen to anybody and everybody, unfortunately,” Davis said. “We have at least 10 investigators just in Albemarle County that work child abuse cases.”

He says the pinwheels can be a reminder for people to speak up if they think a child is being abused.

“We want this to be a constant reminder and for child abuse prevention to be in everyone’s mind as they drive by and making sure that they’re aware that abuse occurs in the community,” Davis said. “We need to protect each other, to make sure that we can support the children that deserve to have a happy upbringing.”

If you think a child is being abused, you can call Albemarle County Social Services at 434-972-4010.

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