'Blue pinwheels' give Montana child abuse victims a voice

There’s a growing problem rampant in Montana communities, a problem that child abuse officials say preys on our must vulnerable.

We are talking about severe physical and sexual abuse of children.

It’s said to happen in Montana everyday and last year alone an average of four children a day sought help at one of our state's ten children’s advocacy centers.

Thursday another Montana child abuse center officially opened and is ready to help kids in need.

Bozeman's first child advocacy center cut the ribbon on a new facility providing a trauma-informed, safe environment for children who have suffered from sexual and severe physical abuse.

The center offers a wide-range of services including a critical service for a child in the aftermath of the abuse.

That's the relief of telling a difficult story just once to a highly trained and caring professional, in a child-friendly and safe environment.

 Bozeman Police Chief Steven Crawford says this is going to help so many kids in the area.

"We have worked pretty hard to provide the best practice services to victims of crimes and sexual assaults we've done the best with what we have, but one of the most significant missing pieces has been a child advocacy center,” said Chief Crawford.

One survivor of childhood abuse tells ABC FOX Montana she wishes a facility like the new center existed years ago.

This new child advocacy center with the technology and this new camera system is something Bekah's Neuliger wished she had when she was a victim as a child.

"It means the world to me because when I went through nobody should have to go through nobody should have to have those memories and those my moments readily available for five years of their life," said Bekah Neuliger, MSU student.

MSU senior Bekah Neuliger dealt with sexual abuse starting at age three.

"I cannot count how many times I've had to relive the worst years of my life," said Neuliger.

She says this new center lets kids come and tell their story once.

"To be able to come back and say it once and get off your shoulders and start to live your life as a kid and heal with your family that is goals in life and I think this is just single-handedly won the most amazing amazing moments to happen," said Neuliger.

Bekah isn’t alone the CAC says this happens to 1 out of 3 girls and 1 out of 5 boys before the age of 18.

Dan Mayland Detective with Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office says he deals with these crimes on a daily basis.

"Five cases a week 3 already this week and yesterday we had a little girl to come in and talk about an experience that happened to her,” said Chief Mayland. “To see them leave with a smile on their face it is very rewarding it is very satisfying and it touches because you know you've done your job. That you provided a service to that child to that family it's going to make a difference it's a healing process."

Neuliger says its centers like the CAC who help kids through a nightmare.

"When kids talk about the monster in the closet and under their bed or in the next room they are very much real and it is so important that we listen to them and that's what we do here we listen to the stories and the monsters that impact in the lives of these kids in these families and then we put those monsters away," said Neuliger.

If you see blue pinwheels around the Gallatin County it’s in support of the child’s advocacy center to say kids have a voice too.

Those blue pinwheels are being sold for 10 dollar donations for the Child Advocacy Center throughout the month.

If you or someone you know is in need of services the Montana Child Abuse hotline is (866)820-5437.

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