As a prosecutor in the Sexual Assault Unit, some days can be tough. But court prep with child survivors is my favorite day at work. I walk a child through the court room and explain who is who, and generally how the process will go.
The child has the opportunity to sit in the witness stand, and then we switch places and they can pretend to be the lawyer and ask me questions. Some want to sit in the Judge’s chair, too! We don’t discuss details related to their case, but this process helps to prepare the child in advance for the hearing and alleviate fears of the unknown.
During one particular court prep meeting, the child asked me,
“What if they don’t believe me?”
He was seven years old. This question represents a very real fear that many child survivors of sexual abuse often carry with them into the court room.
With all the confidence I could muster, I replied,
“I believe you, and I know you are telling the truth. No matter what happens, you are brave and can survive this, too.”
As Deputy District Attorney for Boulder County, it is my role to achieve a just outcome in every child’s case, and the child abuse cases that I prosecute start with a forensic interview at Blue Sky Bridge.
The forensic interview is the first step in the investigative process. The child tells their story in a child-friendly environment to a trained forensic interviewer, and the family receives all of the support and guidance that they need from Blue Sky Bridge staff to begin the healing process.
There have even been a number of cases our office has been able to prosecute because the child reported abuse to a Blue Sky Bridge Education staff member after a presentation at their school. These were cases that never would have been brought to light, if not for the Education program that Blue Sky Bridge provides in local schools.
Without Blue Sky Bridge, I would not be able to do my job and prosecute child abuse and child sexual abuse cases. Their team of experts helps me and the other District Attorneys in the Special Victims Unit to put forth a strong case based on evidence. I believe so strongly in Blue Sky Bridge’s quality of work that two years ago I agreed to join their Board of Directors. Since, I have proudly served as Secretary and have put my own personal resources behind their mission.
So I ask you, will you offer your support, like me, to help this organization continue its important work of helping child abuse survivors?
Blue Sky Bridge is making a positive difference in the lives of Boulder County’s children.
It used to be that a child would have to tell their story of abuse over and over to potentially more than a dozen school officials, police officers, doctors, attorneys, and social workers.
Today, a child and their family is able to come to one place for help, which is Blue Sky Bridge.
In 2018, they conducted 291 forensic interviews. Of those interviews 78% were related to allegations of child sexual abuse, 72% identified as female, and 52% were between the ages of nine and 15 years. According to national data collected by the National Children’s Alliance of all Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) in the US, including Blue Sky Bridge, we know that:
- 95% of caregivers agree that CACs provide them with resources to support their children.
- 98% of team members believe clients benefit from the collaborative approach of the Multi-Disciplinary Team (child protective services, law enforcement, medical professionals, and the DA’s Office).
- If caregivers knew anyone else who was dealing with a situation like the one their family faced, 97% would tell that person about the center.
As Blue Sky Bridge quickly approaches its 25th anniversary in 2020, we are hoping to serve more children in all program areas: child advocacy, therapy, medical treatment, and education.
We want every person living in every corner of Boulder County to receive the education needed in order to recognize the signs, minimize the risks, and know how to react responsibly to an allegation of child abuse. We want to remove any barriers that would prevent anyone in our community who has a concern about a child from accessing our services.
This includes expanding awareness, outreach, and education, as well as improving our technology, but we can’t do this alone. We need you and your charitable support to reach more children who desperately need our help.
Will you make a life changing gift today?
The truth is that we’re not reaching every child who needs us.
Statistics indicate that one in ten children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday, but only 10% of those children will ever tell.
We want to close that gap, so that any child who is in an unsafe situation gets out of that unsafe situation, and the adults supporting that child know where to turn for help.
The children in our community deserve the opportunity to grow up free from child sexual abuse, and I will do everything in my power to make sure that they stay safe. Will you join me?
Thank you in advance for your generosity.
Member and Secretary, Board of Directors