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Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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Club works to raise abuse awareness
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The Exchange Club of Martinsville and Henry County recently organized a “Field of Flags” display at the entrance of Roselawn Cemetery in Martinsville to highlight child abuse awareness and prevention. Pictured are (from left) Exchange Club members Jim McMillan and Tonie McMillan; Mable Finney of FOCUS; and exchange club members Jo Carter, Tracy Kennett and Nancy Kennett. (Bulletin photo)

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Exchange Club of Martinsville is joining with nearly 800 other Exchange Clubs across the country to create greater public awareness of child abuse and what can be done to prevent it.

This year’s theme, “Look, Listen, Respond,” is highlighted in a “Field of Flags” display of American flags located at the entrance of Roselawn Cemetery.

The outer circle of 102 flags represents the completed investigations of child deaths in Virginia due to suspected abuse or neglect, according to the club. The inner circle of 29 flags represents the children who died in the state as a result of abuse of neglect, it added.

Twenty-two of these children were age 4 or younger. Pinwheels were placed at the base of these flags.

In addition to the flags displayed for the month of April, other activities were held throughout the month. They included the Citizens Against Family Violence (CAFV) Family Day at Jack Dalton Park and Believe in the Blue Day at Wal-Mart, both held April 19.

A pinwheel garden was placed in front of the West Piedmont Business Development building in uptown Martinsville, and members of the community were asked to wear blue every Monday. Preschool children throughout Martinsville and Henry County also received plush “You are a Superstar” stars.

According to a fact sheet from the 2014 Virginia Coalition for Child Abuse Prevention, child abuse is not usually just one physical attack or one instance of failing to meet a child’s basic needs. It’s described as a pattern of behavior that takes place over a period of time.

From July 2012 through June 2013, according to the fact sheet, in Virginia, 51,346 children were reported as possible victims of abuse and/or neglect in 33,861 reports to Virginia’s city and county departments of social services. After reviews, 6,205 of these children were found as victims.

The Exchange Club of Martinsville adopted child abuse prevention as its national project in 1979. Locally, the club is partnering with FOCUS on Youth/CASA and CAFV to address the problem through public awareness efforts.


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