Shedding Light On Child Sexual Abuse

By John W. Davis

September 30, 2010 Updated Sep 30, 2010 at 10:55 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - According to the Department of Justice, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before they turn 18.

That's why the Dr. Bill Lewis Center for Children kicked off a campaign Thursday night, to shine light on the dark issue of child sexual abuse.

In October, organizers said they plan on raising awareness with the "Shedding Light On Child Sexual Abuse" campaign.

Advocates say child sexual abuse is a dark secret, usually coming down to the word of a child, against the word of an adult

The goal of the Dr. Bill Lewis Center for Children is to be a place where young people, who have possibly been victims of child abuse, can be interviewed by a trained specialist.

So instead of being bounced around the justice system, children are interviewed one time, reducing the stress of retelling their emotional story.

So far, the Dr. Bill Lewis Center has conducted 427 interviews in 2010,
so October's campaign is aimed at raising awareness and funds to keep the center open.

"It's not just one segment of the population. It affects everybody. 1 in 10 kids tells... Most kids don't tell until they're adults and then they finally confide in somebody. I'd like to make it easier for kids to tell early so we can get them help," said Dr. Bill Lewis Center for Children Lead Forensic Interviewer Pat Smallwood.

The Center will have donations boxes at businesses all across Fort Wayne in October.

Another fundraiser will take place on Saturday, October 23, from 10 a.m. until noon.

The Dr. Bill Lewis Center will be selling Shedding Light On Child Sexual Abuse key chains at local Walmart and Sam's Club Stores in Allen County.

The organization is seeking donations of at least $1 per key chain.

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