In the 1960’s Emergency room doctors started talking about children coming into the ER with both new and old, healed injuries – they began to call it “battered child syndrome.” In 1974, in response to increasing public awareness of the need to ensure the safety and welfare of children, the first federal child protection legislation was passed. The legislation was called CAPTA – the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act.
National Child Abuse Prevention Month originally started as National Child Abuse Prevention Week in 1982.
But, people quickly realized that one week just wasn’t enough to raise awareness for child abuse and neglect prevention. So, in 1983, Congress decreed that April would be National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
In 1989, the Blue Ribbon Campaign to Prevent Child Abuse had its early beginnings when a Virginia grandmother tied a blue ribbon to the antenna on her car as a tribute to her grandson who died as a result of abuse. She hoped the blue ribbon would alert her community to the tragedy of child abuse. While the Blue Ribbon Campaign was a wonderful way to raise awareness of child abuse and neglect as an issue, it has become associated with negative images of abuse and doesn’t help understand that child abuse and neglect can be prevented from ever occurring.
In an effort to change the conversation from the horrors of abuse to the role all people play in preventing abuse and neglect, Prevent Child Abuse America and it’s 50 state chapters adopted the pinwheel as the national symbol of child abuse prevention in 2008. The pinwheel represents the great childhood we want all children to have gives us an opportunity to change the conversation from focused on treating cases of abuse to one focused on preventing it from occurring in the first place.
Our goal is to use the pinwheel to transform awareness into action by creating conversations about our responsibility as adults to ensure all children grow up in safe, nurturing homes and communities that foster their healthy growth and development. People notice the pinwheel and ask about it and it’s an opportunity for us to share stories about the good work we are all doing to help increase the Protective Factors that support families in our communities. Learn more about Pinwheels for Prevention.