October is Child Abuse Prevention Month in Alberta, and the Caribou Child & Youth Care Center in Grande Prairie is looking for residents for #GoBlue to raise awareness about child abuse and the important role communities play. to ensure the safety of children and young people.
The Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services’ most recent annual report, released in 2019, indicates that more than one in three young people in Alberta are believed to be survivors of abuse.
Program director Nicole Bockus says the Grande Prairie region may present its own unique challenges when it comes to addressing child abuse. She says geography alone can cause problems not seen in other jurisdictions.
“There are obviously a lot of reasons, and it’s always on a case-by-case basis, but something that could cause it is isolation because we have so many small rural communities… that could be a contributing factor. .
PACE Executive Director Jacquie Aitken said that by the age of 18, 44 percent of girls and 24 percent of boys will experience unwanted sex. She adds that while it’s not always a telltale sign of abuse in particular, major fluctuations in a child’s behavior can be incredibly revealing.
“Changes in a child’s behavior, if you have a child who seems to get along pretty well, then the abuse happens and there is a change,” she says.
“It can be the change of an outgoing child becoming clingier, or a loving child becoming withdrawn and angry,” she adds.
The Caribou Child & Youth Care Center urges all residents to wear blue on October 24 in solidarity with all affected by child abuse and to spark more conversation and awareness.