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Hundreds of pinwheels outside Primary Children's honor children who died from child abuse

Estimate of child abuse deaths increased by nearly 11 percent from 2015-2019
Posted at 11:39 AM, Apr 19, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and doctors at Intermountain Healthcare are addressing the increase in child abuse cases brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Official data for 2020 has not been released yet, but healthcare professionals suspect a high rate of child abuse occurred last year.

RELATED: Pinwheels outside Unified Police headquarters call attention to hundreds of child abuse cases

Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital has planted more than 1,800 pinwheels in honor of children who have died as a result of child abuse nationwide. Each pinwheel represents a child who died at the hands of caregivers.

According to a report by the Children’s Bureau (Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Administration for Children and Families) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated 1,840 U.S. children died from abuse or neglect in 2019 - a rate of 2.5 per 100,000 children in the population. The national estimate is a 10.8 percent increase from the 2015 estimate of 1,666 deaths.

Experts are concerned that some children who were abused last year may not have been as likely to report the abuse because they were away from the safety net of in-person school attendance.

“[Child abuse] rates are remarkably stable from year to year. And then when the pandemic hit, all of a sudden it seemed like the floor dropped out. We weren't having any cases coming into clinic,” said Dr. Antoinette Laskey, University of Utah Health and Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital.

RELATED: A member of Utah's 'The Five Browns' opens up about being abused as a child and what she's doing to help children now

There are 26 Children’s Justice Centers available to help victims of child abuse in Utah.

Click here for details on Children's Justice Centers in Utah and click here for more information on National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

More Child Abuse Prevention Resources: