Local & Regional
COOS BAY, Ore. - Coos County has one of the highest rates of child abuse in the state.
The Kids Hope Center is trying to lower those numbers by bringing awareness to the problem.
"Child abuse is one of those topics that nobody seems to want to talk about," said Jessica Lowry with the Kids Hope Center. "It's not comfortable, and so we really want to shed light on the issues of our community."
With a Blue to Better campaign that includes bracelets and blue lights at local businesses, the center hopes to spark that conversation.
In 2013, the center saw 197 kids who were victims of abuse.
"Just this year after January 1 we've seen over 80 children," Lowry said.
At the center's new location, kids will have a forensic interview, medical assesement and on-going support, all in one location.
For people in the community, it's important to listen to possible reports of abuse, Lowry said.
"It's really important to say thank you for sharing that with me and really affirm what they're saying because you might be the first person and the only person that they might have disclosed to," she said.
If you suspect a child is being abused, you're asked to contact the center or call police.