Pinwheels Raise Awareness about Child Abuse
WILKES-BARRE, PA – A group that helps abused children says reports of child abuse in Luzerne County have increased over the past year. A display at the courthouse in Wilkes-Barre is meant to raise awareness of the problem.
One by one, pinwheels were placed across the lawn in front of the Luzerne County Courthouse. Each pinwheel represents a child who was seen at the Child Advocacy Center in Wilkes-Barre last year.
The display numbers 439 pinwheels.
“It’s good that all the kids are remembered. It’s just sad that there’s so many,” said Wilkes-Barre Police Detective Ron Foy.
“It’s very sad and it’s kind of disheartening,” said Shannon Peduto, Child Advocacy Center Director.
The 439 pinwheels placed here break last year’s record by almost 100.
“We’re surpassing our numbers from last year and it’s only March,” Peduto said.
Officials can’t explain why the number of reported child abuse cases in Luzerne County is increasing.
It could be people are reporting child abuse more often than before or it could mean that abuse is happening more. Either way, it’s creating a bigger workload for police, and it often involves tough cases.
“They’re very difficult, especially when you have children of your own,” said Wilkes-Barre Police Chief Marcella Lendacky.
“People don’t realize how huge law enforcement is in the investigation process and what a support they are to the advocacy center and their families,” said advocacy center employee Tammy Panowicz.
What’s the most challenging part of the job for Detective Rob Foy?
“To actually listen to the kids and their stories and not want to take every one of them home.”
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and the county hopes these flags help to spread awareness.
“The Child Advocacy Center is here to help families, to help children through this difficult process,” said Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis. “It’s a place that a child can feel comfortable and they don’t have to be re-victimized every time they’re interviewed.”
The pinwheel display at the courthouse in Wilkes-Barre will be in place throughout April.