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Pinwheels Against Child Abuse


April 11, 2018

AVA FARRIS plans pinwheels at Sweet Home Police Department with her children, Wiley Farris, 5, left, and Ryder Farris, 6, while carrying her daughter, Olivia Farris, 1.

Dozens of people gathered Saturday morning to plant pinwheels at Sweet Home Police Department and then "Walk for a Child" as part of Child Abuse Awareness Month.

The Sweet Home Police Department is selling blue and silver pinwheels to be planted at the department, homes and businesses

The pinwheel represents the fun of being a kid, a happy, healthy child, said Community Services Officer Gina Riley. Proceeds from the sale of the pinwheels are used to pay for fuel cards to cover the cost of transporting children to the ABC (All Because of Children) House in Albany.

Riley said it it is important that children who may have been abused to be able to reach the ABC House for services, yet coming up with money for fuel can be difficult for some families.

ABC House is a nonprofit child abuse intervention center that works with children and their families to overcome the crisis of child abuse and neglect.

"ABC House is a safe place for kids to come who may have been abused," said Bobby Williams, ABC House development coordinator. Children may be referred by police officers or the Department of Human Services.

Staff is trained to assess children for possible abuse, he said. Doctors are specially trained to recognize and treat abuse. Interviewers are trained to ask children questions without leading them or putting words into their mouths.

ABC House also provides advocacy for victims of child abuse, Williams said. The organization helps point families to resources they may need.

That includes trauma counseling for the victims and their family members, Williams said.

Crossing Main Street at 15th Avenue more than three dozen participants march against child abuse Saturday.

For the public at large, ABC House provides education on how to recognize signs of abuse and how to prevent it, he said. Educational programs may be provided at ABC House, or staff members can visit a church or organization.

Last year, ABC House helped more than 600 children, in Linn County, Williams said. It provided education to more than 300 persons.

Following a short program, children and parents went outside the Police Department to plant their pinwheels and then walked from the department to the intersection of Main Street and 15th Avenue and back.

SHPD also is handing out blue antenna ribbons to help raise awareness about child abuse and brochures explaining different forms of child abuse and signs of child abuse.

The goal is to encourage people to report signs of abuse, Riley said.


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