The Barbara Sinatra Children's Center has formally announced a new initiative in the form of a series, to combat child abuse.
The animated video series, "Stop the Secrets that Hurt,' aims to educate children on sexual abuse, and how to deal with the emotional effects of abuse.
The 8-part series was designed by a team of experts. It plays on several different scenarios and targets kids and teens, ages 7-15, who have been abused, but have not yet told anyone.
"A lot of these children don't want to disclose, as the videos say, because they're afraid of what's going to happen in their family," said Director and CEO of Barbara Sinatra Children's Center, John Thoresen.
The center is a safe haven for teens and children who have been sexually abused. Thoresen says the majority of children know their abusers.
“Maybe the perpetrator is a family member. They don’t want to break up the family. It may be a coach or teacher. They don’t want to get that person fired," Thoresen said.
The real goal of the series is to encourage others to come forward and disclose their experience with a trusted adult.
"The national statistics say that for every case of child abuse that’s reported, 2 go unreported. We know there’s a lot of kids out there suffering trauma and abuse," Thoresen said.
Denise Rodriguez Bowman is a child forensic interviewer with the center.
“Clearly by some of their behaviors, by their affect, there is something there but they’re not ready to share," Bowman said.
Bowman interviews children from ages 3 to 18 over allegations of abuse. She says some are unaware of how to articulate their experience, and this video series is to help them.
“You know you’re not alone. That we do this with thousands and thousands of children every year and we’re here to help them through that process," Bowman said.