Grande Prairie Caribou Center Raises Public Awareness During Child Abuse Prevention Month


“A lot of the issues we face, if we could stop child abuse, it would be related to the prevention of medical and social issues. ”

The Caribou Center works with children identified as victims of abuse and helps protect them and prevent it from continuing by providing resources for the victim and the family.

Aitken says that over the years they have become more aware of how child abuse affects victims as adults, both emotionally and physically.

“They talk about unfavorable childhood experiences, and the more unfavorable childhood experiences a person is, the more vulnerable they are to cancer, heart attacks, mental illnesses, depression and substance abuse.”

Aitken hopes that opening the conversation to make children and youth feel comfortable expressing themselves will help prevent these problems.

“We are often so silent about child abuse, and for many years people were alone, they had no one to say what was going on and they suffered alone from the trauma they experienced as children,” he said. she declared.

“If we can get early revelation, then they won’t have this trauma for years and years, and they won’t be alone with it.”

Aitken tells EverythingGP that child abuse presents itself in many different children, depending on a variety of factors, including the types of abuse.

She says the signs could include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Behaviour change
  • The general presence of the child, in terms of joy / being, withdrawn
  • Flee
  • To act
  • and more.

Program coordinator Nicole Bockus says the first step for abused children is finding a safe person to talk to.

She says many children use teachers or grandparents as supportive people.

“Once they are disclosed to them, we do our best to bring them to the Caribou Center so that we can have our specialized people trained in forensic interviewing, to do an interview to ensure that these children are indeed. safe and if they are in a dangerous situation. , we then bring them to a safe situation.

You can find more information on recognizing and preventing child abuse here.


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