Stand up for children

Denver Children’s Advocacy Center to host awareness event and campaign called Save Jane

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According to data found by the Denver Children’s Advocacy Center (DCAC), one out of four girls and one out of six boys will be abused before their 18th birthday.

“Child Abuse and neglect happens, it is real,” said Gizane Indart, executive director of the DCAC. “It happens to any child regardless of race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status. Bringing awareness to different communities (can) help with validating the painful realities of so many children, and also provides tools for caregivers and community members to become more protective.”

On July 30, the DCAC is hosting a child abuse awareness campaign called Save Jane in City Park. The goal of the event is to bring public awareness to the crisis of child abuse and “instill a sense of hope that with effective interventions, kids do better and they recover,” Indart said.

During the event, the names and ages of last year’s child abuse victims will be read aloud to remind people there are real children and stories of child abuse within the community. However, because the children’s identities must be protected, their real names will be replaced with Jane Doe or John Doe.

A total of 11,418 names will be read at the event. Each name represents a child abuse case reported in 2020 in Denver alone.

It is important to note that child abuse cases went down in Denver in 2020, said Michelle Davis, development director for the DCAC. But that is not necessarily because there was less abuse happening, she added. It is possible that fewer cases were reported because the children were not out in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, and therefore, did not see mandatory reporters — teachers and outside caregivers, for example — on a regular basis, Davis said.

“We felt this is an important time to launch this campaign,” Davis said.

The DCAC is a nonprofit organization founded in 1995. The organization offers seamless, comprehensive and timely services to all traumatized children and their families, Indart said. It has multiple facets to provide a continuum of care, which includes forensic interviewing, treatment and therapy, and prevention efforts and outreach.

The Save Jane event will begin at 9 a.m. and last all day. It is expected that it will take approximately 10 or 11 hours to read the 11 thousand-plus names. Community members are welcome to come by anytime to reflect, show support and learn more about Save Jane or the DCAC — attendees can even participate in reading the names. DCAC staff will also be onsite to talk with people, provide information and/or let them know about the many opportunities to get involved with the DCAC.

Any of the names to be read on July 30 could be a child that you know — the child who lives down the street or even a family member, Davis said.

“Children are defenseless to most abuse,” Davis said. “The community needs to be aware of the number of cases being reported right here in our city.”

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