In honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month, 1,352 pinwheels can be seen spinning on the front lawn of Akron Children’s Beeghly campus. Each pinwheel represents a child who received abuse and neglect services last year in Mahoning County.
Youngstown City Schools Junior ROTC students helped Akron Children’s Child Advocacy Center and Mahoning County Children Services place the pinwheels. The initiative is part of Pinwheels for Prevention, a public awareness campaign designed to increase awareness about child abuse and neglect in communities across Ohio.
A separate Mahoning County Pinwheels for Prevention event is planned April 15 at 9 a.m. at The Embassy in Struthers. Jim Tressel, president of Youngstown State University, will deliver the keynote address.
Trumbull County Children Services hosted its Pinwheels for Prevention event in Warren on April 3.
The number of child abuse and neglect cases is alarming. In 2013, there were:
- 678,932 victims of child maltreatment in U.S.
- 166,583 reports of child maltreatment in Ohio
- 27,562 victims of child abuse or neglect in Ohio (10.4 per 1,000 children)
“Child abuse and neglect ruin children’s lives, destroy families and contribute to serious societal problems, including juvenile delinquency and teen pregnancy,” said Andrea Mistovich, Child Advocacy Center coordinator. “Victims of childhood abuse and neglect are at an increased risk for smoking, alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, eating disorders, suicide attempts, multiple partners and severe obesity. High levels of exposure also likely produce anxiety, anger and depression in children.”
Akron Children’s Child Advocacy Center at its Beeghly campus provides medical and forensic evaluations for children and teens who may have been physically or sexually abused. It serves Ashtabula, Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties in Ohio and Mercer County in Pennsylvania.