Month-long slate of activities seeking to raise awareness about child abuse

Children in the Columbus area are increasingly being hurt.

Bartholomew County’s child abuse/neglect rate per 1,000 children increased from 15.9 percent in 2015 to 17.1 percent in 2016, according to the Indiana Youth Institute. The rise in child abuse cases coincides with an increase in drug abuse by parents.

Such situations are why organizations such as Family Service, Inc. and the Child Abuse Prevention Council of Bartholomew County make a month-long appeal to residents every April.

The purpose of Child Abuse Prevention Month is to urge everyone to play an active role in preventing child abuse and neglect, as well as take positive action to promote child and family well-being, according to the national event’s website.

In Columbus, the kickoff of the observance will be 5 to 7 p.m. Monday at the downtown Dairy Queen, 616 Third St.

While participants socialize inside, volunteers from Dorel Juvenile Group will be outside to provide child seat checks from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

At 7 p.m., the group will walk a few blocks to Columbus City Hall to plant a pinwheel garden. Pinwheels were introduced as the national symbol for child abuse prevention in 2008 by Prevent Child Abuse America.

With a 17 percent increase in Bartholomew County sexually based abuse cases reported between 2012 and 2016, child sexual abuse will be the sole focus of the next event.

“Protecting our Children,” a presentation on preventing, recognizing and reacting to child sexual abuse, will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday in the conference room of the Bartholomew County Public Library.

Participants, who must be at least 18, will be asked to pay $25, which covers the cost of a take-home workbook. People who plan to attend should call the Child Abuse Prevention Council of Bartholomew County at 812-372-3745 to register.

Tickets already are sold out for the annual Child Abuse Prevention Adult Prom, an April 21 fundraiser at The Commons.

Child Abuse Prevention Month April events

2: Kickoff at Dairy Queen, 616 Third St., Columbus, from 5 to 7 p.m. Planting of pinwheels at Columbus City Hall, 123 Washington St., at 7 p.m.

5: Presentation on preventing, recognizing and reacting to child sexual abuse, 6 to 8 p.m. at the Bartholomew County Library, 536 Fifth St., Columbus

21: Sold-out CAP Adult Prom, 7 to 11 p.m. at The Commons.

27: Prevent Child Abuse Blue Day.

30: Fundraiser at Chipotle Mexican Grill, 2260 N. National Road, Columbus, from 4 to 8 p.m.

All month: WKKG Pinwheel Scavenger Hunt.

Author photo
Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.