citizens urged to display blue ribbons in battle against child abuse

Published 6:55 pm Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The statistics are heartbreaking. In 2007, there were 31, 362 reported cases of child abuse and neglect in the state of Alabama. The damage this mistreatment causes is more than just the broken bones and bruises. Children who suffer abuse and neglect have a greater likelihood of criminal behavior, substance abuse, health problems such as heart disease and obesity, and risky behavior such as smoking. The estimated cost of child abuse and neglect to taxpayers in Alabama is more than $520,000 per year.

In an effort to raise awareness of prevalence and dangers of child abuse and neglect, the Greenville City Council is partnering with the Children’s Advocacy Center (Safe Harbor) and the Family Sunshine Center in declaring April Child Abuse Awareness Month.

On Monday, representatives of these partners took part in tying a large blue ribbon to an oak tree in front of City Hall.

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The ribbon is a reminder to all who pass by that child abuse does exist everywhere, including right here in the local community.

City Hall employees have also decorated a tree inside the front lobby with blue ribbons, the national symbol for child abuse prevention.

“One incident of child abuse in Greenville is one too many,” said Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon.'”If we can reduce the number of victims by making people aware of the consequences, then we wanted to get involved by tying our blue bow in a conspicuous place for everyone to see.”

The Greenville City Council encourages all citizens to follow their lead and decorate a tree or even tie a blue ribbon to a car antenna during April.

“We want to thank Kathy Smyth of Safe Harbor in Greenville and Karen Sellers of the Family Sunshine Center for all their organizations do to help our children by bringing awareness to child abuse and their efforts to prevents the horrible acts toward our children,” McLendon said.

Sellers lauded Smyth and Safe Harbor for their work in the county, saying many local families would likely go without assistance without the help of Safe Harbor.