Vigil honors children hurt, killed through child abuse

Vigil honors children hurt, killed through child abuse

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A vigil Thursday night honored children that have been hurt or killed because of child abuse.

According to the Children's Advocacy Center, 28 children died in Arkansas in the last year as a result of abuse.

They hosted the vigil held at the Craighead County Courthouse. It started at sunset.

Those in attendance got to set up pinwheels and hold candles throughout the event.

"Out of the 28 preventable child deaths that we saw and child abuse deaths that we saw this year in Arkansas, 8 of those have been this year in our area," Executive Director Kristy Nichols said.

Nichols said they hope to hold the vigil every year to raise awareness.

"When the community is aware of the problem, only then can they fix it," she said.

And they have started getting some awareness around town.

Mayor Harold Perrin proclaimed April as child abuse awareness month Thursday afternoon.

The Children's Advocacy Center has grown in the last couple of years, serving about 100 more children each year.

Last year, the center served 489 children.

However, Nichols wanted to stress that the growing number doesn't mean there are more cases.

"It's not that the need has risen," she said. "It's that we are recognizing that need and meeting that need."

The event also featured two girls who sang throughout the vigil and said they want to be advocates for the center.

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