RACINE COUNTY, Wis. - In 2020, there were 131 confirmed cases of child abuse in Racine County, a nearly 30% decrease from 2019, which may sound like good news, but the coronavirus pandemic has played a role.
"When you’re putting these pinwheels in the ground, think about the child that’s representing," said Trademark, a representative with Guardians of the Children, Belle City Chapter.
A group of bikers clad in leather planted a pinwheel garden Sunday, March 28 -- the pinwheels representing the number of children abused in 2020 in Racine County.
"The evil that child had to endure at the hands of somebody else – it’s heartbreaking," said Trademark, a representative with Guardians of the Children, Belle City Chapter.
Each spinning fan was placed to represent a young boy or girl.
"Unfortunately, we live in a world where we have these monsters that want to abuse innocent children, and that’s not something that anybody should stand for, or anybody should stand back and be silent about," said Trademark, a representative with Guardians of the Children, Belle City Chapter.
County health officials say the numbers have been on the decline the past few years, but the numbers for 2020 were down significantly and this number, health officials say, can’t be trusted.
"Children weren’t seen," said Kerry Milkie with the Racine County Human Services Department. "They weren’t seen at school. They weren’t seen in their recreational activates -- basketball coaches, football coaches, baseball coaches didn’t see kids."
When mandatory reporters aren’t seeing vulnerable children, like they would pre-pandemic, the cases aren’t being addressed.
"We know that number is higher," said Milkie. "We know that there are more children out there that need that, so as things start to open up and have been opening up, we’ve seen a small increase."
It's a reminder to stay vigilant to protect the most vulnerable and report child abuse when you suspect it.