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April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and the message from Amberly’s Place is that child abuse is everyone’s business.
“The importance of this topic cannot be understated. Child abuse creates a lifetime of challenges for survivors. These adverse childhood experiences have long-term consequences to both the physical and mental health,” said Tori Bourguignon, executive director.
In 2021, the family advocacy center provided services to 1,242 primary and secondary victims of child abuse in Yuma County and parts of Imperial County. Secondary victims are those who witness and/or are directly impacted by the abuse of the primary victim.
“We have made great strides as a community in terms of how we report and respond to child abuse cases, but there is still much work to be done to prevent the abuse from happening,” Bourguignon noted.
This month, Amberly’s Place is working to raise awareness of child abuse and how everyone can help prevent it. One way of shining a spotlight on the issue is by “planting” blue pinwheel gardens around town. Pinwheel gardens bring attention to community efforts to support families and public policies that prioritize prevention to make sure child abuse and neglect never occur.
“Pinwheels are used to help educate communities about the importance of supporting children and families,” Bourguignon said. “Shining in the sun, the pinwheel is reflective of the bright future all children deserve and our belief that getting it right early is less costly than trying to fix it later.”
Some of the pinwheel gardens can be found at Southwest Junior High in San Luis, Bushmaster Memorial Wall in Somerton and Yuma Police Department.