BEND, OR -- Two local child-abuse prevention agencies kicked off their annual Blue Ribbon Campaign, yesterday, as part of a nationwide, month-long awareness effort. Rachel Visser, with the KIDS Center, says you can show support by wearing a blue ribbon or attending one of the educational opportunities scheduled throughout the region, "To let people know that child abuse just isn’t a big city issue or something that’s kind of on the periphery. But, it’s very much a community issue; it’s something that Central Oregon deals with." There were more than 4,000 reports of child abuse or neglect in Central Oregon in 2017.
Visser tells KBND News they do what they can to help victims, but the goal is to prevent abuse before it happens. "We have direct client services. So, if there’s a kiddo that is in a situation of abuse or suspected abuse, we’re able to come alongside that family and provide resources for them. But, what we’re hoping to do is before that family gets into that position, or before that kid gets into that position, is to educate adults about how to create a safer community."
The Blue Ribbon Campaign started 30 years ago in Virginia, when a woman tied a blue ribbon on her car antenna to symbolize her grandson’s bruises, after he died at the hands of his mother’s abusive partner. "We want to be able to grab people’s attention," says Visser, "and then be able to educate and help them learn how to prevent this in the future."
The KIDS Center and MountainStar Family Relief Nursery are working together on the Blue Ribbon Campaign. For more information, including trainings and other events throughout the tri-county area in April, click HERE.