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Child abuse awareness spreads in SW Montana

By Donovan Hill, KTVM Reporter, dhill@ktvm.com
Published On: Apr 09 2013 04:19:51 PM MDT
Updated On: Apr 05 2013 06:14:22 PM MDT

You may have seen the blue ribbons, pinwheels and even flags dancing in the wind outside of the local businesses and even government buildings.

BUTTE, Mont. -

A display of blue ribbons nation-wide is helping raise awareness of child abuse.

You may have seen the blue ribbons, pinwheels and even flags dancing in the wind outside of the local businesses and even government buildings.

"It is heartbreaking," said Linda Palagi, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters in Butte.

Palagi is also one of the supporters of the campaign. 

She tells NBC Montana that child abuse can happen in any family.

"One of the interesting things is if a child is from a good family there is a tendency to overlook it, and to tell yourself that could not possibly happens in that family, however it happens across the board," said Palagi.

Each one of the ribbons represents a confirmed case of child abuse right here in Butte-Silver Bow.

Last April there were around 40 ribbons total, this year that number has jumped to over 60, which illustrates an unsettling reality to those who walk by.

"If we could stop the cycle of abuse it's more proactive versus reactive,” said Phyllis Costello, Program Director for Big Brothers Big Sisters in Butte.

Costello explained that a big goal of the initiative is to help people recognize the warning signs, and teach children how to protect themselves.

“Even with great parents there are still people out there who are going to abuse children," said Costello.

Palagi and Costello both say the initiative is working, but added it's sad that child abuse must be highlighted in this kind of way.

“I think it's kind of a crime that we have a month to remind us not too abuse children," concluded Costello.

“It should be ongoing every day every hour every minute," finished Palagi.

You contact the local child abuse hotline to report a possible case -- the number is 1-866-820-5437.