April is Child Abuse Prevention Month | PostIndependent.com

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Nonprofit spotlight
Kay Vasilakis
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Childhelp River Bridge Center (CRB) wants adults to know child sexual abuse happens right here in our communities. In the first quarter of 2009, CRB has already assisted 40 local children.

Child abuse occurs at every socio-economic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education. One in four girls; one in six boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. Less than one victim in ten will come forward, and only 10 percent are abused by strangers. The median age for reported abuse is nine years old; almost 80 percent initially deny abuse or are tentative in disclosing. Fabricated reports constitute only 1-4 percent of all reported cases.

If adults minimize opportunities for one-adult/one-child situations, the risk of sexual abuse will be dramatically lowered. Children keep abuse secret, but barriers can be broken down by talking openly about it.

Learn where to go, who to call and how to react. Act on suspicions, the future well-being of a child is at stake.

Childhelp River Bridge Center is presenting Marilyn Van Derbur, incest survivor, former Miss America, and nationally-known speaker at 7 p.m., April 27 at Thunder River Theatre in Carbondale. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and a reception will follow the presentation.

Donations will be accepted at the door. Tickets are free but must be reserved prior to the event. Call Childhelp River Bridge Center at 945-5195 for ticket information.

Marilyn Van Derbur was crowned Miss America while she was a student at the University of Colorado. She received a bachelor of arts degree, with Phi Beta Kappa honors.

As a childhood incest survivor, she has devoted much of her adult life to raising national awareness and understanding of sexual abuse and its long-term effects. Her family funded an adult incest survivor program in Denver in 1989, and in 1993 she co-founded two national nonprofit organizations dedicated to public education and strengthening laws protecting victims of sexual abuse.

Childhelp River Bridge Center (CRB) is a private/public partnership with Garfield County Department of Human Services, serving Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin counties. River Bridge utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach to work exclusively with local child sexual abuse victims. All client referrals come from the Department of Human Services or local law enforcement. The facility is not a walk-in facility, and works in collaboration with Department of Human Services , sheriff departments, police departments, medical and mental health professionals, school counselors, public prosecutors and victim’s rights advocates from the District Attorney and Sheriff’s office. It assists in investigation, treatment, advocacy and prosecution of offenders.

For more information, please contact Susan Ackerman, director Childhelp River Bridge Center 970-945-5195 sackerman@childhelp.org.

Kay Vasilakis’ “Nonprofit Spotlight” column appears every other Wednesday in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. She is a member of the Garfield County Human Services Commission. To contact her with nonprofit news tips and local inspirations, call 384-9118 or e-mail kay@postindependent.com.

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