TULSA, Okla. — There is a special tribute in Tulsa to honor a certain group of Oklahoma children. The display is outside the Tulsa County Courthouse for the entire month of April for Child Abuse Awareness Month.
Hundreds of pinwheels are planted in the ground representing each victim of child abuse in 2020. Volunteers hope the pinwheels will help spread awareness and show how many children are affected by abuse each year. Child protective agencies are working overtime to respond to child abuse cases during the pandemic.
Steve Kunzweiler, Tulsa County district attorney says the public needs to be reminded, now more than ever, that children need to be in a safe and healthy environment.
“if you know of somebody with children that may be at risk of neglect, abuse, or harm, do the right thing and step up and report that to the proper authorities. It’s not something that’s easy to do but it’s the law,” Kunzweiler said.
In 2010, there were more than 7,000 child abuse cases reported. In 2019, there were nearly 16,000 cases reported. That’s more than a 10% increase in nine years, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
2020’s data has not yet come out but experts believe it may be the most troubling year. The usual child abuse reporters, like teachers, councilors, and bus drivers had less access to children because of the pandemic.
That’s why law enforcement is asking the public for your help, especially this year, to help report child abuse.
“The more we get people educated whether it’s law enforcement, DHS, or just moms and dads or grandparents, the need for intervention is really critical so that these young people can be removed,” Kunzweiler said.
Kunzweiler says the data over the past ten years is actually a good thing. It means more people are reporting child abuse. The state has also taken a more aggressive approach towards prevention.
To learn more about child abuse prevention we’ve provided a list of resources below:
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