Utah officials lend support during child abuse prevention month

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SALT LAKE CITY – April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and the Utah Division of Child and Family Services is taking part in an effort to raise awareness of child abuse and work toward preventing it.

Blue and silver pinwheels are being displayed in lawns and gardens of state office buildings and other locations, and the bright display is a show of support for efforts to end child abuse.

Ann Williamson, executive director of the Utah Department of Human Services, spoke about their goals.

“We want to see child abuse and neglect completely eradicated, and so the month of April is to increase awareness of preventing child abuse and neglect,” she said.

Williamson said the pinwheels send a specific message.

“Pinwheels are such an image that conjures up the joy, the innocence, the vitality of children,” she said. “And so we encourage businesses, nonprofits, all state organizations to plant gardens of pinwheels in honor of child abuse prevention month.”

Statistics show that one in four girls and one in six boys will be assaulted or sexually abused by the age of 18.

Utah Rep. Angela Romero, D-District 26, lent her support to the cause.

“One of the reasons why I’m out here today to support Prevent Child Abuse Utah and the Department of Human Services is to bring that policy maker voice to the table,” she said.

Romero sponsored a bill that would offer child sex abuse prevention education to Utah students, and the legislation was signed in March. Romero said she hopes efforts like that bill and the pinwheel project will help create solutions.

“The more we address that as policy makers and let children know that they have a safe space, the better we are off as a community,” she said.

For more information about child abuse prevention in Utah, including a hotline for reporting abuse and neglect, visit the DCFS’ website.

Click here for information about Prevent Child Abuse Utah and ordering pinwheels.