Child Abuse Blue Ribbon Raises Awareness for Students

NEWARK, Ohio, April 19, 2017 – A blue ribbon painted on the shared campus of The Ohio State University at Newark and Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) by Licking County Job and Family Services to mark National Child Abuse Prevention Month is having an impact on students. The ribbon is encouraging students to consider the impact of child abuse and how they raise their children.

Kyle Bonham is a second year nursing major at Ohio State Newark and has two children of his own. He believes it's important to get college students talking about preventing child abuse.

"It's creating conversation. Even if people don't have kids right now, it gives them something to talk about when they do have kids. If you have a screaming baby in the middle of the night, how are you going to react?"

The blue ribbon is painted on the bank, east of the Martha Grace Reese Amphitheatre. Field paint was used to stencil the ribbon on the grass, and the ribbon will fade over time as the lawn is mowed during the spring months.

Because of his nursing studies, Bonham is learning how to look for signs of child abuse and talk about abuse with women who are about to have a baby.

"One of the things mothers get asked at the hospital is if they feel safe at home. We want to know if the mother is being abused before the child comes along," said Bonham. "Common bruises on children are on the arms and legs, like when they fall down. Bruises on the back, stomach and bones that haven't healed properly are warning signs of abuse."

 Bonham said that having an image on campus to raise awareness is important because many students are already parents or will one day become parents themselves.

"Know the importance of what you teach your kids. You're going to impact the type of parent your child becomes. If a child is being abused, they'll likely grow up to abuse others."

In 2016, Licking County Children Services received 1,738 reports of child abuse or neglect that impacted 2,480 Licking County children. On a statewide scale, an abuse or neglect referral is received every 30 minutes.

Central Ohio Technical College and The Ohio State University at Newark  have forged an outstanding array of educational opportunities for the central Ohio region and beyond. This partnership is viewed as a model for higher education in the state of Ohio.  At Central Ohio Technical College, students gain hands-on, applicable experience to begin working in the field, or to transfer those credits toward a bachelor's degree program. The Ohio State University at Newark offers an academic environment that's challenging but supportive with world-renowned professors and access to Ohio State's more than 200 majors.