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KIDS Center's Blue Ribbon Campaign underway

By Alicia Inns
Published On: Apr 01 2014 09:12:43 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 01 2014 09:23:32 PM CDT

NewsChannel 21's Alicia Inns talks with KIDS Center officials at the start of April's blue ribbon campaign to raise awareness for child abuse prevention.

BEND, Ore. -

A sign of solidarity, sealed with a bow. Each blue ribbon symbolizing the impact of child abuse.

"The blue ribbons signify our support for survivors of child abuse and really helps to build awareness in the community about how important it is to notice the signs and warnings and know who to call," KIDS Center Executive Director Shelly Smith said Tuesday.

In the past year and a half, there have been more than 1,200 reports of sex abuse in the tri-county area.         

KIDS Center is a place where children in Central Oregon can find help when they're dealing with abuse.

"It's hard to talk about, but if we don't speak up, these children don't often have a voice and without a voice, they can't be helped," said KIDS Center Director of Development Robin Antonson.

It's estimated that one in four girls and one out of six boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18. And 90 percent of the time, it happens in the family.

"Kids do not want to have this continue, and it's done at the hands of loved ones," Smith said. "And there's shame and sadness and it takes a lot for kids to come forward and disclose."

That's what makes the blue ribbon campaign so important -- spreading awareness.

"Wearing the blue ribbon is your way of saying, 'I will talk about it, I will listen -- and most importantly, I will speak up and save a child'," Antonson said.

But it's not about the color blue, or the ribbon. It's about the victims of abuse, the hundreds of local children who need a safe haven.

"The children are the most important thing and we need to be able to provide a safe and comfortable environment to thrive in," Smith said.

If you are a child or parent and need someone to talk to about abuse, you can call Kids Center at 541-383-5958 or if you need to report abuse, call the police tip line at 541-322-2986.   

For more info, head to kidscenter.org.

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