WASHINGTON (ABC4 News) – The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children recently presented its highest honor to a Utah woman.
Jan Broberg, of Santa Clara, was presented with The Hope Award at the 2019 Hope Awards Gala in Georgetown, Washington DC.
A survivor of child sexual assault herself, Broberg was recognized for her advocacy and public outreach on behalf of children at risk of assault—particularly by someone they know.
“Jan Broberg and the documentary “Abducted in Plain Sight” has done more to open the door to the conversations of child sex abuse by known, familiar predators than anyone else in the history of this organization. We have received more phone calls, more letters and more outcry in the past four months than in the past 25 years combined, from people wanting to help children who are being abused by someone they know. By sharing her story, she has helped ignite a movement that will make a difference for the 350,000 children we are now working with, and millions more. It has blown the doors wide open,” said Callahan Walsh, who introduced her during the ceremony.
The documentary tells the story of how Robert Berchtold, a close family “friend,” was able over a three-year period to build trust, groom Jan’s parents, and eventually kidnap her and sexually abuse her.
Educating the public about grooming, and recognizing warning signs are key messages Broberg is sharing with the world. Broberg’s advice for people wanting to protect children is to learn the covert warning signs and then look for them. After that, “Trust your gut,” she says. “If you notice a child’s behavior changing around a certain person—even if it’s a family member or someone you love and trust—raise your antenna. Pay attention, and if you notice any signs of inappropriate conduct, take action.”