Blue Sky Bridge, TDA_Boulder Call Attention to Child Abuse with Provocative TV Spot

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Public Service Announcement, To Debut in Colorado, Includes Convicted Pedophile

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"We hope parents and caregivers will learn to take the extra steps to carefully assess and evaluate those who spend time with their children," said Judy Toran Cousin, executive director of Blue Sky Bridge.

Aiming to show that it’s not easy to recognize a predator, victim assistance agency Blue Sky Bridge has teamed with award-winning advertising agency TDA_Boulder to create a provocative public service announcement that includes a convicted pedophile.

The 30-second television spot was made to bring awareness to the issue of child abuse, which persists everywhere, regardless of class, race or gender. It opens with a view of vibrantly colored model rocketry materials laid on a table. As the spot progresses, the gentle, soothing voice of a man can be heard discussing how much he enjoys sharing the hobby with a young person. Moments later, the camera jumps back, showing that the table is clearly within a prison environment – and the speaker, whose face is distorted by pixelation, is sitting behind it in a jumpsuit. He tells viewers, “It’s not easy to identify a pedophile. You just spent 20 seconds with one.”

The ad is airing now on cable television through Comcast Colorado, after which it will be rolled out to other interested child advocacy centers around the state and across the country.

“We are excited about the opportunity to utilize this groundbreaking work by TDA_Boulder and Futuristic Films to raise awareness around the issue of child sexual abuse,” said Judy Toran Cousin, executive director of Blue Sky Bridge. “We hope parents and caregivers will learn to take the extra steps to carefully assess and evaluate those who spend time with their children. The PSA directs interested viewers to the Blue Sky Bridge website, where they will find resources to help them protect children. Child sexual abuse is a community-wide problem that requires a community-wide effort.”

Blue Sky Bridge is the only victim assistance agency in Boulder County that provides forensic services to children for whom abuse or neglect is reported, as well as counseling and other support services for non-offending family members. The organization notes that child abuse remains a serious problem in Boulder County and throughout the state of Colorado. Research indicates that as many as 1 of every 4 girls and 1 of every 6 boys are sexually abused before age 18. In Boulder County, it is estimated that two new children are sexually abused every day.

In the first quarter of 2012, the accredited, nonprofit organization has seen a 41 percent increase in its number of forensic interviews, which it attributes to an increase in outreach to the Boulder Valley and St. Vrain Valley School Districts, which helps identify children at risk and in need. Also in the first quarter of this year, domestic violence interviews are up 29 percent from last year, demonstrating that trained professionals understand the importance of interviewing child witnesses to these crimes. As of the end of April, interviews of children between 12 and 18 are up 57 percent.

According to the National Children’s Alliance, nearly five children die every day in the United States from abuse and neglect – and in 2010, that statistic encompassed an estimated 1,560 children. In that same year, about 695,000 children were victims of maltreatment, and children’s advocacy centers across the country served more than 266,000 child victims of abuse, providing victim advocacy and support to these children and their families. In 2011, this number rose to more than 279,000.

Creation of the spot took about a year, and required assistance by Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett and cooperation from the Colorado Department of Corrections. Correctional staff helped identify potential offenders to appear in the spot, who were interviewed to determine suitability. TDA_Boulder filmed the ad during a single day at the correctional facility in Cañon City where the offender is housed. Assisting on the spot were agency producer Alli Gerrish and account executive Stephanie Hearon.

Neither the offender’s name nor the details of his criminal record are revealed in the public service announcement.

“We are so grateful to the Cañon City prison for their assistance, access and hospitality, and Blue Sky Bridge for their commitment to seeing this spot to completion, even when it felt like it would not be possible,” said Jonathan Schoenberg, Executive Creative Director and Partner of TDA_Boulder.

About TDA_Boulder
TDA_Boulder is a strategically focused creative agency with $30 million in billings from clients including, among others, FirstBank, Webroot, Boyer’s Coffee, Noodles & Company, Outdoor Research, Sir Richard’s Condom Co., Justin’s Nut Butter and Avery Beer. More information is available at http://www.tdaboulder.com.

About Blue Sky Bridge
Blue Sky Bridge Child Advocacy Center works to create a community without child abuse through intervention, education and advocacy. The agency provides forensic interviews, family support, crisis counseling and education and has helped more than 10,000 children and their families since its founding in 1995. For more details, visit http://www.blueskybridge.org.

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Steve Sapka
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