TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and the Unified Police Department is hoping to bring attention to the problem by establishing a small memorial to the victims.
444 pinwheels placed around UPD’s headquarters represent the number of cases that detectives with the department’s Special Victims Unit investigated in 2020.
Although cases declined last year, police said it’s not necessarily a sign of progress. Most cases are reported by teachers and school officials, but many schools were shut down for at least part of the year.
UPD Detective Ken Hansen said officers and deputies have a greater responsibility for noticing potential child abuse cases as more students have been working on their studies remotely.
RELATED: 'The 5 Browns' hold concert to help victims of child abuse“They need to look for things like, unexplained things, like bruises or burns, unexplained illness and even just complaints where there is a change in behavior or there is a withdrawal by the child. There’s a lot of different things to look for and they need to be educated at all the different factors they could be signs or signals of child abuse or neglect,” Hansen said.
As schools open back up, Hansen suspects the number of reported child abuse cases will increase, and everyone can help curb child abuse by watching out for warning signs.
Child Abuse Prevention Resources:
- Utah Child Abuse Prevention Hotline - 855-323-3237
- Prevent Child Abuse Utah Website
- 2021/22 Abuse Prevention Resource Guide [PDF]
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Child Welfare Information Gateway