YORK COUNTY, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) This Friday is the last day of April’s Child Abuse Awareness month. Safe Passage releasing numbers saying it’s estimated that 1 in 7 children experienced child abuse or neglect in the last year.
Safe Passage served nearly 250 children across York County in 2020 as part of the organizations Child Advocacy Center. Over the past three years there have been more than 23,000 child abuse and neglect reports in South Carolina. Now, communities showing there support by displaying blue pinwheels.
Safe Passage’s Lisa Glazebrook says, “That significance is to kind of remember children who have experienced physical abuse and they’ve had any marks or bruises on their bodies. And the pinwheels are something that’s supposed to be fun and light and some thing that children like to play with.”
This month Safe Passage partnered with several community agencies including the Tega Cay Police Department who’ve displayed pinwheels.
Tega Cay Police Captain James Patterson, says, “Just as a reminder for the public, you know if you see something or something concerns you or if you have questions, then you can reach out to your local law-enforcement agency.”
Tega Cay Police Captain James Patterson sharing one 2017 case, a homicide by child abuse, that stuck with the department and the community.
“A family using drugs and you know the mother was in her ninth month of carrying the child and actually gave birth to the child at home and the child passed away….So that really impacted the officers that were investigating it and it impacted the community,” says Captain Patterson.
These leaders say ending child abuse and neglect is a community effort urging those that see or suspect mistreatment to report it to an area police department or social service department.
“The pinwheel represents a happy and safe childhood for every child… so, if we can catch these things early on and get the help that’s needed for those children, through Safe Passage or through the Department of Social Services then we want to make those efforts, we want to take those steps,” says Captain Patterson.
“It’s happening all the time and it’s happening more than we realize and I do think that a lot of times it takes someone outside of the family to be able to recognize that it’s happening, to know the signs of it and to know that they should be able to report it if they see something strange,” says Glazebrook.
In the video above, CN2 is speaking with community leaders from Safe Passage and the Tega Cay Police Department about the importance of raising awareness.
And, Safe Passage also holding a virtual balloon release in this Friday. Two balloons being released. One for child abuse awareness and the other for sexual abuse awareness.
Safe passage leaders saying it’s important to raise awareness and spread education – to change victims and potential victims lives. Many times victims know their abusers – Safe Passage wants to let the community know there is support.
Safe Passage’s Avyn Rhodes saying, “I think it’s very important to let people know that they’re not alone in that we support them and we stand by them. And also as this area gets busier, we want to allow people coming in to let them know that we’re not going to allow violence in our community and we’re gonna do everything that we can to bring awareness to these uncomfortable conversations and hopefully prevent them from happening.”
Leaders say it’s always important to remember if you see or suspect abuse, make sure it gets reported.