‘Fall Splash’ Raises Funds for Victims of Child Abuse

Eliminating Sexual & Physical Abuse of Children in the Northland

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Statistics show one out of every 10 children will be sexually abused before the age of 18, and only one in every 10 of those cases of abuse are reported.

Thursday evening, First Witness Child Advocacy Center, with the help of the Duluth community, worked to eliminate child abuse all together.

While many people think it doesn’t happen here, last year First Witness conducted 100 forensic interviews with children in Duluth who reported sexual abuse and physical abuse – and those are just the severe cases.

There are many more cases each year reported to Child Protective Services and police.

Thursday’s 12th Annual Fall Splash fundraiser was put on by First Witness at the Greysolon Ballroom to support children of abuse and their families.

The child advocacy center helps an abused child and his or her family through everything they need, whether it’s help finding housing or support in a courtroom.

These children can be as young as three or four years old, up to age 18, with the average age around six or seven.

First Witness Executive Director Beth Olson says it’s the younger children – the three and four year olds – that bring up the most challenging cases.

“Even when they disclose or tell someone, it’s often kind of an accident, they don’t really know what they’re telling us or what they’re saying, they don’t really have good language, even for their own body parts,” explained Olson.

She also emphasized correcting one of the greatest misconceptions of child abuse – kids aren’t responsible for the abuse that happens to them, and if the offender is not in the family, family members are not responsible either.

“Oftentimes those kids get blamed and they get ostracized, and those families get blamed and they get ostracized. They’ve had good support networks and they find themselves really alone at the end, and I think people need to reach out and be supportive, instead of be afraid or scared and not know what to say,” Olson told FOX 21.

The event was complete with a silent auction, a live auction, and games including a ring toss.

The goal Thursday was to raise $40,000 all which will go to kids in the Duluth community.

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