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Abuse in Focus: Isolation

Isolation is a pervasive and insidious pattern of control.

The goal for isolation is to remove the victim from their support system and resources, whether that includes friends, family, faith community, professionals, or agencies, so that the abuser is more easily able to control the victim. It is a tactic that has been seen in relation to several other forms of abuse, including human trafficking, teen dating violence, elder abuse, and domestic violence. In any of these situations, isolation can take multiple forms, including physical, emotional, social, and financial. Isolation can prevent a victim from having access to individuals, funds, or programs that may give them critical insight and support for their circumstances. It can also bring a victim to a place of despair and shame, where they believe no one can or will help them, that they will not be able to escape their abuser.

With human trafficking, isolation is often a key factor. In cases of labor trafficking, the victim may be made to work at a rural location, with extensive distances between that work site and the nearest town. Trafficking victims may also face a language barrier if they are trafficked outside of their country of origin, thereby creating social isolation, so even if they are able to get to town, they may not be able to ask for help from locals. Financial isolation creates another obstacle in leaving, as often trafficking victims are not paid adequately, if at all, for whatever they are made to do, and don’t have the means to escape their situation on their own or return home.

Here is what isolation can look like in situations of teen dating violence and domestic violence:

Please note that while this video specifically describes scenarios where men are the batterer and women are the victim, this type of behavior can occur in any intimate relationship regardless of gender, gender expression, or sexual orientation.

In cases of elder abuse, isolation can be as simple as depriving an elder of a mobility device, such as a wheelchair or walker. Per the World Health Organization (WHO), “Social isolation of caregivers and older persons, and the ensuing lack of social support, is a significant risk factor for elder abuse by caregivers. Many elderly people are isolated because of loss of physical or mental capacity, or through the loss of friends and family members.” Isolation in this way can allow for the elder’s abuser to continue abusing and exploiting the elder.

AVRC does have multiple methods on how we can work with a victim to address their needs in a way that is safest for them. AVRC believes that no one should have to go through the loneliness of being abusively isolated. If you want to know more about how AVRC can help, AVRC Staff is available 24/7.

415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
(719) 384-7764
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656

Video provided by The Duluth Model Youtube Channel.

AVRC is non-discriminatory agency regarding age, race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation, mental health status, substance use or economic condition.

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