Help prevent child abuse, April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Published 7:00 am Thursday, March 31, 2022

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The Children’s Advocacy Center of the Bluegrass, which serves victims of child sexual abuse across 17 central Kentucky counties, is reminding all citizens to “Be a Hero” and report suspected abuse. Child abuse thrives when good people decide it’s none of their business. Whether you are a teacher, a doctor, a family member, a coach, a counselor, or just a friend, the Children’s Advocacy Center of the Bluegrass encourages you remember you have a role to play in ending child abuse.

To honor Child Abuse Prevention Month, and encourage community members to get involved, the Children’s Advocacy Center of the Bluegrass will be hosting a Pinwheel Planting on Monday, April 11th at 10:30 AM at their office in Lexington (162 N. Ashland Ave., Lexington, KY 40502). The pinwheel is the national symbol for child abuse prevention, as it connotes playfulness and joy, and serves as a reminder of the great childhoods that all children deserve. All are welcome.

Each year since 2018, Kentucky has led the nation in reported cases of child abuse. In 2021, the Children’s Advocacy Center of the Bluegrass served nearly 1,000 children abuse victims, including over a dozen from Boyle County. This April and throughout the year, the Children’s Advocacy Center of the Bluegrass encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making Boyle County a better place for children and families. There are three steps community members can take to help kids now:

  1. Learn the signs of abuse, including: unexplained injuries, changes in behavior, fear of going home, changes in eating and/or sleeping, changes in school performance and attitude, lack of personal care or hygiene, risk-taking behaviors, inappropriate sexual behaviors.

2. Learn the facts about child abuse, such as: 88% of abuse happens at home (not at the hands of strangers or kidnappers); community professionals such as teachers, doctors, counselors, and others report most abuse; and the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a drop in reporting, meaning many children have not been able to access the help they need.

3. Make the report. Even if it’s just a suspicion of child abuse, gather your information and make the report to your local authorities.

To report suspected child abuse, please call (877) 597-2331. For more information about the Child Abuse Prevention Month or the services provided by the Children’s Advocacy Center of the Bluegrass, contact Taylor Ballinger, Engagement Director, at 859-225-5437 or via e-mail at taylor@kykids.org.

Since 1994, the Children’s Advocacy Center of the Bluegrass’s mission is to reduce the trauma experienced by sexually abused children by providing services to them in a nurturing, friendly, and safe environment. They coordinate the agencies involved in the treatment, investigation, and prosecution of child abuse cases across 17 central Kentucky counties. In 2022, over 1,000 children will be seen at the Center for forensic interviews, medical exams, advocacy, and therapy services. All services are provided free of charge.