“The number one child abuse reporters in this nation are our dedicated teachers, guidance counselors, school nurses, principals, and coaches,” stated Child Advocacy Center director Sharon De Boer. “They are on our front lines every day recognizing the signs and symptoms of child abuse, reacting responsibly, and reporting abuse. For a child abuse victim, the adults in their school are often their lifeline to get help.”
The national statistic is that 1 out of 10 children in will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. That means that in school classrooms, daycares, Sunday school classes, bands, choirs, sports teams, cheerleading, gymnastics—everywhere you normally see children in our community there are child abuse victims. Unfortunately during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, many children are silently bearing the burden of child abuse and child sexual abuse alone—without their teachers and trusted adults to confide in.
“The Tennessee Child Advocacy Center directors recently viewed a webinar sponsored by the National Children’s Alliance facilitated by Child Advocacy Center directors from some of the nation’s hot spots for the coronavirus—New York and Chicago,” continued De Boer. “It was clear from the webinar that Child Advocacy Centers across the nation are concerned about child abuse victims who are quarantined at home with their abusers.”
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Every year the Child Advocacy Center and the agencies on the Rutherford County Coalition Against Child Abuse have partnered to raise awareness about child abuse and child sexual abuse in our community.
“This April we are faced with unusual challenges like COVID-19 and social distancing,” said Child Advocacy Center Community Education Coordinator Brittnie Noble. “But, the Child Advocacy Center and the Rutherford County Coalition Against Child Abuse are dedicated to raising awareness of the issue of child abuse.”
Every year, the Child Advocacy Center and the Rutherford County Coalition Against Child Abuse have planted blue pinwheel gardens all over the community in observance of National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This year, we are requesting that families place pinwheels in the front windows of their home. There is a pinwheel template available on the Child Advocacy Center Facebook page. Please print copies of it, have your children color them, and tape them in the front window of your home. Hopefully your neighbors will see the pinwheels and follow suit.
Families who participate in the pinwheel gardens are encouraged to take a picture and share with friends using the hashtag #StopChildAbuseTN. Please follow the Child Advocacy Center of Rutherford County on Facebook for updates on Child Abuse Prevention Month and ways to protect children from abuse. Our hope is to see pinwheel gardens across Rutherford and Cannon Counties and all over the State of Tennessee.
During the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the Child Advocacy Center is asking neighbors, friends, and families to pay attention to the signs and symptoms of child abuse. If you suspect that a child is being abused please call the Department of Children’s Services at 1-877-237-0004 and report. You do not need evidence to report, just your suspicion that a child is in danger.
The Child Advocacy Center works as a multidisciplinary team with Department of Children’s Services, law enforcement, Our Kids Center, and the District Attorney’s Office to investigate and prosecute child abuse cases and help children and their families heal from the trauma.
For more information on how to get involved with the National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Rutherford County Coalition Against Child Abuse, or how to protect children from child abuse please contact Brittnie Noble at 615-867-9000 or email email@example.com.