With the overwhelming statistics surrounding child sexual abuse in our country, state, and counties, becoming aware and supporting those who are positioned to help can mean all the difference in the world to a victim and their family.

Child sexual abuse is far more prevalent than most people realize, according to Darkness to Light, an effort to bring attention to this horrific problem plaguing our communities. It is likely the most prevalent health problem children face with the most serious array of consequences.

About one in 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. About one in seven girls and one in 25 boys with be sexually abused before they turn 18. This year, there will be about 400,000 babies born in the U.S. that will become victims of child sexual abuse.

It is the mission of the Barren River Area Child Advocacy Center to reduce trauma to child abuse victims by providing a safe, child-friendly location where teams of professionals work together to pursue justice and offer treatment.

The BRACAC's services and programs fulfill a mission to help sexually abused children and their non-offending parents and caregivers in the Barren River Area region heal from abuse.

"We believe no one professional or agency can meet that goal alone. Rather, it takes a team of specially trained professionals working together to meet the needs of a child victim while respecting the needs of the investigative process to hold offenders accountable for crimes against children," says the BRACAC.

BRACAC is a regional Children's Advocacy Center that serves Allen, Barren, Butler, Edmonson, Hart, Logan, Metcalfe, Monroe, Simpson and Warren Counties. The Center works closely with other professionals through protocols of the region's ten Multidisciplinary Teams (MDTs) to coordinate and provide best practices services for victims of child sexual abuse and their non-offending members in one neutral, safe and child-friendly location.

Offenders -- alleged or otherwise, are not permitted at the Center. The Center provides consultation to its MDTs and hospitals and services to children as determined necessary and as staffing and resources allow, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All services are provided on a first-come basis and at no expense to a child's family.

A nonprofit 501c3 agency since 1998, the BRACAC is an Accredited Member of the National Children's Alliance and a Full Member of the Kentucky Association of Children's Advocacy Centers.

The mission is possible only through the collaborative efforts of the various professionals that must intervene when sexual abuse and/or exploitation of a child is disclosed or suspected.

The Barren River Area Child Advocacy Center starts with the idea that no one agency or professional can adequately respond and meet the needs of a child victim. Rather, it takes the expertise of a core multidisciplinary team of professionals -- law enforcement, child protection services, prosecutors, physicians, therapists, and professional advocates -- all working together to provide children and their non-offending family members or caregivers with quality services and support they need.

The trauma and impact of sexual abuse can be devastating to a child. But by working together at the BRACAC, children and families receive quality services in a trauma-informed environment to stop abuse, begin the healing process and enhance the prosecution of offenders of this horrific crime against children.

Services provided by BRACAC include:

• Child Focused Environment

• Victim Advocacy & Support

• Forensic Interviews

• Medical Examinations

• Mental Health Services

• Community Awareness & Prevention

• Multidisciplinary Team

BRACAC hosts several fundraisers throughout the years to help raise needed funding to provide such an important resource for children who have suffered abuse. Over the Edge for Child Advocacy is one of those events.

Over the Edge is being held Oct. 25-26 and involves repelling five stories down Stadium Park Plaza in the heart of downtown Bowling Green. The first 92 participants to raise $1,000 will earn a spot to go Over the Edge for Child Advocacy.

Another annual event to help BRACAC is the Great Teddy Bear Run. This year's run, held April 27th, celebrated the 20th anniversary for the event. It was a huge success with 550 participants raising over $46,000 to help provide services to children who are victims of child sexual abuse.

There were over 725 children served by the Child Advocacy Center in 2018 to date with 32 from Logan County. This is not acceptable says Paula Clark, a public relations volunteer representing Logan County.

"It breaks my heart," said Clark who is trying to get the word out about this problem that affects our smallest and most vulnerable population.

"The purpose of the BRACAC is to allow these victims a chance to tell their story to specialized counselors trained in sexual abuse with child trauma interviewing techniques. This center allows for a safe place to bring a child where their story can be heard," said Clark.

Several Logan County businesses contribute to BRACAC including Logan Telephone Coop, Logan Aluminum, Logan Memorial Hospital. Edward Jones (Marilyn Hobart), Brent Summers, Lewisburg Banking Company, HR Agri Power, Pennyrile Rural Electric Coop (Hopkinsville) and H& H Sheet Metal.

All adults have the moral and ethical obligation to report suspected child abuse or neglect, irrespective of whether or not they are identified by law as a mandated reporter. In Kentucky, the law requires all of us to report concerns of abuse or neglect to law enforcement, the Cabinet for Health & Family Services and/or the County or Commonwealth Attorney. (KRS 620.030) You are not required to give your name and can remain anonymous.

If a child is in danger and needs immediate protection, call 911. All other concerns of abuse or neglect of a child living in the BRADD region should be reported to child protection services and your local city or county law enforcement agency. The Two Rivers Centralized Intake: 270-651-0287 or 1-800-597-2331.

For more information about BRACAC, or if you are interested in one of the fundraisers, you can visit bracac.org