April is Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Prevention month.
The Crime Victim Center held its annual Pinwheel for Prevention event Wednesday afternoon in downtown Erie.
The Crime Victims Center has been holding events all month long to make sure people are aware of what is happening in the community and what people can do to keep kids safe.
Community members and local leaders gathered at Perry Square for the Crime Victim Center’s, Pinwheel for Prevention event.
The Crime Victim Center marked the event by handing out blue pinwheels to attending kids from Early Connection early learning center.
The pinwheels are a national symbol for child abuse prevention and reflects the bright futures that all children deserve.
“Blue, dark blue was designated as the child abuse prevention color. Teal designated as the sexual assault prevention color and they just kind of stuck over the years,” said Paul Lukach, executive director of the Crime Victim Center.
The executive director of the Crime Victim Center said that it’s the responsibility of everyone in the community to keep kids safe. An important part of the process is making sure kids feel safe enough to talk about their experiences.
“It’s important to talk about it have discussions about it, to educate the community and just to talk about how they can be involved as well to help prevent and recognize child abuse,” said Elizabeth Hirz, district attorney, Erie County courthouse.
The district attorney explained that in the past, she has seen a delay in reporting because kids are afraid to present themselves.
“We need to impress upon the children that they can come forward, we need to show that they are safe, that we care about them, that we’ll listen to them and do what we can for them,” D.A Hirz went on to say.
“We would also ask every adult, every responsible adult to take mandated reporter classes and parents in the know classes that we offer at the crime victim center to make sure you know how to keep kids safe,” Lukach explained.
The executive director said if you know someone in need, get them in contact with the Crime Victim Center or the Child Advocacy Center.