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#GoBlue campaign returns as part of Child Abuse Prevention Month

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October is Child Abuse Prevention Month in Alberta, and the Caribou Child & Youth Care Centre in Grande Prairie is looking for residents to #GoBlue to raise awareness about child abuse, and the important role communities play in helping keep children and youth safe.

The most recent annual report from the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services, published in 2019, says more than one in three youth across Alberta is believed to be a survivor of abuse.

Program Director Nicole Bockus says the Grande Prairie region perhaps presents its own unique challenges when it comes to combating child abuse. She says geography alone can cause problems not seen in other jurisdictions.

“There is obviously a huge number of reasons, and it’s always a case by case basis, but something that could cause it is isolation because we have so many rural, small communities… it could be a factor towards it.

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PACE Executive Director Jacquie Aitken says that by age 18, 44 per cent of girls, and 24 per cent of boys will experience an unwanted sexual act. She adds while it’s not always a telltale sign of abuse specifically, major fluctuations in a child’s behaviour can be incredibly telling.

“Changes in behaviour of a child, if you have a child that seems to be getting along pretty well, and then the abuse happens, and there is a change,” she says.

“It may be the change of an outgoing child becoming more clingy, or a loving child becomes withdrawn and angry,” she adds.

The Caribou Child & Youth Care Centre is urging all residents to wear blue on October 24th in solidarity with all those impacted by child abuse and to spark more conversation and awareness.

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