GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — April is Child Abuse Prevention Month.
During the month of April, you may spot blue pinwheels in lawns across Grand Rapids. The blue pinwheel represents childhood, they’re a symbol for child abuse prevention.
Children’s Advocacy Center of Kent County development coordinator Tatum Hawkins said the blue pinwheels are to draw attention to the topic. They are to show hope for the future of children who have been sexually abused.
The Children’s Advocacy Center of Kent County is a safe place for children who have been sexually abused. Hawkins said the center receives three to four new cases per day.
“We serve approximately 1,000 children each year. Since January 2018, we have seen a 25% increase in the number of forensic interviews that we provide,” said Hawinkins.
24 Hour News 8 looked at numbers from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services of confirmed child sexual abuse cases from 2017 to 2018 in five West Michigan counties.
Allegan, Muskegon and Ottawa counties reported an increase in cases. Kent and Kalamazoo counties reported a decrease in confirmed cases.
“Does that mean sexual abuse is getting worse? We are not sure, but it means that more people are disclosing their abuse and that is a good thing,” said Hawkins.
There are a few ways the community can get involved in Child Abuse Prevention Month.
On Tuesday, April 23, community members can wear blue to show support for children who havebeen sexually abused.
People can donate or signup to volunteer at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Kent County online or call 616.336.4275.