By Martin Slagter Kokomo Tribune
---- — While there is an awareness of child abuse in the community, the problem is often more widespread than people realize, said Dr. Patrick Webb, a clinical psychologist at the St. Joseph Trinity house.
Webb was one of several members of the Prevent Child Abuse Council who spoke Wednesday during a press conference to kick off Child Abuse Prevention Month. Many events are scheduled throughout April to bring greater awareness to the issue of child abuse.
“Over 50 percent of kids that have been abused once are likely to be abused again,” Webb said. “Studies show that the abusers are able to pick out those markers of vulnerability in the children. That kind of heightens the whole community effort that we are trying to make in educating the public about child abuse.”
Some of the events:
• On Tuesday, the Howard County Department of Child Services will host a “Pinwheels for Prevention” program. The event will take place at 7:30 p.m. at the Howard County Family Service Association. 618 S. Main St. The event is part of a statewide campaign.
“Hundreds of pinwheels have already been requested,” Prevent Child Abuse community liaison Barb Hilton said. “It’s really a celebration of all the prevention partners and people that are doing things to keep kids safe. We’ll be planting our pinwheel garden at the end of that at FSA.”
Hilton said this is the first year she has run out of pinwheels to distribute to local businesses, which caused her to request more from the state.
• April 14 through 18 will mark Blue Ribbon Week, where blue ribbons and educational materials will be distributed to 2,000 Howard County school staff members.
• The FSA’s annual Prevent Child Abuse Conference will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 15 at Oakbrook Church in Kokomo with a number of guest speakers expected. All sessions are free and open to the public.
PCA Council Chairperson Emma Welker said one of the biggest missions of the council is to educate people on how widespread child abuse is.
“The No. 1 causal factor of child abuse is a lack of parental knowledge,” she said. “A lot of different families have different risk factors.”
• Activities will conclude on April 22 with the FSA’s Angel Walk, which will take place at 5:30 p.m. at Indiana University Kokomo.
The Howard County FSA is encouraging local businesses to display window clings, signs, and pinwheel bouquets explaining what they plan to do to help prevent abuse.
Limited supplies of blue ribbons, pinwheel bouquets, window clings and signs are available through the FSA’s Prevent Child Abuse Program. You may request prevention materials or conference information by calling the FSA at 765-513-9328 or 765-860-0336.
Martin Slagter can be reached at 765-454-8570, email@example.com or on Twitter @slagterm.