SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – April serves as Child Abuse Prevention Month, and Monday, the Dwaine and Cynthia Willett Children’s Hospital at Memorial Health paid tribute to victims of abuse and neglect.
They call it pinwheels for prevention. Directors say over 400 pinwheels have been planted on the hospital’s campus, each serving as a visual reminder of the bright and shining future that every child should be entitled to.
“We’ve distributed pinwheels for the recognition, and we will distribute 8,607 pinwheels throughout the state of Georgia in the month of April,” said Pam Melton, executive director of business at Central EMS. “One for each victim of child abuse in the state last year.”
Dr. Donna Evans, medical director of the child protection team at Memorial, says the past year has led to a decrease in overall consults — but not necessarily a decrease in cases.
“Certainly, the hopeful thought is that there are fewer children being abused, but unfortunately, the ominous thought is that there are children that have been abused and yet those cases have gone unnoticed and unrecognized,” said Evans.
She says this could have to do with children being out of school for the past year due to the pandemic.
“Teachers make a substantial amount of the child abuse and neglect reports in Chatham County. So you have children who have not had a teacher, guidance counselor or principal to check on them every day to ask about their well-being,” Evans added.
Some of the warning signs of child abuse and neglect include a child not wearing appropriate clothing for the weather, a child that may look like it isn’t well cared for, a child that may look dirty or a child that may have obvious injuries.
If you ever encounter a situation where you think child abuse or neglect may be occurring, you can call the 24 hour Georgia reporting hotline at 855-422-4452.