CHEMUNG COUNTY, N.Y. (WETM) — According to the National Children’s Alliance, nearly 700,000 children are abused in the United States each year. In Chemung County, the number of child abuse reports may shock you.
Dina O’Herron and Jennifer Yannette, Family Services of Chemung County, said they receive close to 1,500 child abuse reports every year.
“In 2020, we received 1,300 which is, for a county of our size, a significant number,” said Yannette. “When you break that down, because there is usually more than one child named on the report, it was actually closer to 4,000 children who were named in the report of a suspected child abuse or maltreatment in Chemung County.
If you drive through Chemung County this month, you will likely see pinwheels.
Sherry Mandell discussed the pinwheels’ significance.
“They represent awareness and the lives saved or touched from prevention efforts,” said Mandell.
Mandell said what to do if you witness abuse.
“The physical wounds may heal, but a child’s resilience in their ability to cope and thrive is damaged,” said Mandell. “So if you see something that makes you feel uncomfortable, an interaction between a child and an adult, or you see some behaviors in children that make you uncomfortable, the best thing you can do is make a phone call to the National Child Abuse Hotline.”
The official hotline is: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453). All calls are confidential.
O’Herron said Family Services for Chemung County will support families and children in what ever way they possibly can.
“There are a lot of wonderful and amazing people in this community who are very well trained and understand abuse dynamics,” said O’Herron.