domestic violence, Non-Profit Agency, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Violent Crime: The Lasting Impact

     It seems that Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is most generally discussed in association with the subject of sports injuries, particularly football. Having been repeatedly struck, innumerable times a year, it isn’t surprising that football players, either at the high school, college, or pro level experience more brain injuries than most other athletes. However, these athletes aren’t the only individuals who are at risk from TBI, though they may be the most commonly discussed.

     According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 10% of the brain injuries that are reported are the result of assault. At 17 million TBI’s reported annually in the US alone, this totals to approximately 8,500,000 brain injuries that were a result of violent crime within a 5-year period.  The CDC also cites that in 2013, assault was the most common cause of TBI-related deaths for children between 0-4 years old. It is also estimated that as many as 20 million survivors of domestic violence (DV), 6% of the US population, may be affected by TBI.

10% of reported TBI are a result of violent crime.

     TBI is the result of external physical force, which may cause a varying degree of injury to the brain. Such external force can include penetration of the skull by a foreign object, including stab wounds or gun shots to the head, closed head injuries due to strikes to the head or rigorous shaking, and cutting off oxygen to the brain such as can be caused by strangulation. For survivors of DV, they may have experienced multiple incidents wherein they were strangled, hit in the head, or slammed up against a wall, all of which could result in repeated cases of what is referred to as “mild brain injury”. In cases of Shaken Baby Syndrome, infants are injured due to violent and forceful shaking, with as many as 250-750 deaths annually as a result. For those who survive the preceding assault, they can face a veritable maze of immediate and/or potentially long term aftermath from their resulting TBI.

brain-injury-symptoms

     The side-effects of TBI can have a long-lasting and sometimes severe impact on the survivor, including physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and sensory problems. These symptoms can include, but aren’t limited to; headaches, dizziness, reduced memory and concentration capabilities, and changes in personality and sleeping patterns. Worse still, enduring symptoms can make any ongoing or future abuses that much more dangerous for a victim, as  it may be more difficult to leave an abusive situation.

     Identifying and addressing the symptoms of, or providing support for survivors with TBI is imperative. Depending upon the severity of the injury, it is potentially possible to recover from these far-reaching symptoms. The first step to recovery is seeking the right resources to help reach that goal. Arkansas Valley Resource Center (AVRC) is available to connect survivors with the appropriate resources to meet their needs, and assist in addressing new or ongoing abuses. Don’t hesitate to reach out and move forward!

Support through AVRC is available 24 hours a day!
415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
24 Hour Hotline: (719) 384-7764
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656

Statistics and symptom chart provided by the Center for Disease Control. Additional information provided by Domestic Abuse and Brain Injury in Women, via the National Women’s Health Network (https://www.nwhn.org/domestic-abuse-brain-injury-women/).

AVRC is non-discriminatory agency regarding race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation or economic condition.

domestic violence, Non-Profit Agency, Sexual Assualt, Victim Service Agency

AVRC Services Spotlight: Peer & Group Counseling

The Arkansas Valley Resource Center (AVRC) recognizes that road to recovery for survivors of violent crime can be a long and trying one, and believes that one of the best tools for potentially reaching the end of that road may be counseling. AVRC offers peer and group counseling for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuses in Bent, Crowley, and Otero County. There is no charge for counseling, or any other service provided by AVRC, and it is not required for a victimization to be reported to Law Enforcement in order for a survivor to access counseling support.

Peer counseling, by definition, is counseling, support, and guidance provided by a trained peer professional. AVRC’s peer counseling is survivor-driven, with the goal of working toward recovery from past and/or potentially ongoing abuses. While in peer counseling, AVRC staff assist victims with resources, tools, and techniques to recognize unhealthy and abusive patterns, build self-esteem, and develop healthy coping skills.

Group counseling for sexual violence and domestic violence victims is conducted with the hope that survivors can build a support system within the group, and recognize that they are not alone in their experiences. As with individual peer counseling, AVRC staff can work with the group on recognizing the cycle of violence, establishing assertive communication skills, and setting healthy boundaries in their relationships.

Should it be determined that a survivor’s needs are not being met by peer or group counseling, or that they have concerns regarding their mental health, AVRC can provide appropriate referrals and resources to best meet those needs.

If you are interested in seeking peer or group counseling, or would like more information, AVRC is just a call away!

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

AVRC is non-discriminatory agency regarding race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation or economic condition.

Donate, Non-Profit Agency, Victim Service Agency

Your Donations Make a Difference!

The Arkansas Valley Resource Center (AVRC) is always working to improve our services to assist the victims of violent crime within the counties of Bent, Crowley, and Otero. One way AVRC is currently trying to better serve the survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault is through the Blair House Fundraiser. AVRC is working with local agencies and individuals to create an on-site facility for our clients to have a safe space for themselves and their children in times of crisis.

Community support is invaluable to AVRC, and one means of support that can help a great deal are the donations from individuals like you! We have recently added a donation button to our website, located on the right hand side of the page. Any amount is greatly appreciated, and puts AVRC one step closer to realizing our goal to better serve survivors.

If you have any questions about our services, the Blair House Fundraiser, or are in need of safety and support, feel free to contact us!

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

domestic violence, Non-Profit Agency, Victim Service Agency

Go Orange this February!

 

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM) and in 2018, everyone is wearing orange! The #Orange4Love challenge, or Wear Orange Day, is on Tuesday, February 13th, 2018, and is part of the TDVAM campaign to raise awareness regarding an issue that 1 in 3 teens and young adults face. But what is teen dating violence? Do you know what the warning signs of dating violence can look like?

81% of parents believe teen dating violence isn’t an issue or admit they don’t know if it’s an issue.

According to loveisrespect.org, teen dating violence occurs on a spectrum of healthy relationships, unhealthy relationships, and abusive relationships. Unhealthy relationships are characterized as being “based on attempts to control another person”, whereas abusive relationships are “based on an imbalance of power and control”. As with any abusive situation, abusive behavior is a means for the perpetrator to gain control over another person. These controling behaviors can be emotional, mental, financial, physical, or sexual, and include other patterns such as stalking, intimidation, and isolation. Most commonly, teens who had experienced dating violence reported physical, sexual, emotional, and verbal abuses. Put downs, jealousy, isolation from friends and family, and pressure over having sex are all abusive behaviors commonly associated with teen dating violence.

1.5 Million high school students admit to being hit or intentionally harmed by someone they are in a romantic relationship with.

Dating violence can have a serious impact on a survivor. Young adults who have experienced dating violence are at higher risk for eating disorders, unsafe or unhealthy sexual practices, substance abuse, and ongoing abuse in their adult relationships. On top of that, half (50%) of teens who experience dating violence attempt suicide, in comparison to young men (5.4%) and young women (12.5%) who have not been in an abusive dating relationship.

Education may be one of  the best tools to combat dating violence. When students, teachers, and parents are able to identify unhealthy and abusive patterns, better support can be given to those who are experiencing or have experienced dating violence. Agencies such as the Arkansas Valley Resource Center (AVRC) are available for students, teachers, parents, and community members alike who may have concerns for themselves or someone they know, as well as for group education regarding these issues.

If you are interested about learning more, or are in need of support for yourself, a friend or family member due to teen dating violence, reach out, speak up, and don’t forget to wear #Orange4Love!

Support through AVRC is available 24 hours a day!
415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
24 Hour Hotline: (719) 384-7764
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656

AVRC is non-discriminatory agency regarding race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation or economic condition.

Teen Dating Violence statistics and banner provided by loveisrespect.org.

domestic violence, Non-Profit Agency, Sexual Assualt, Victim Service Agency

AVRC Services Spotlight: Crisis Intervention

The Arkansas Valley Resource Center (AVRC) offers many different services to assist the victims of violent crime in Bent, Crowley, and Otero Counties. Among these many invaluable services, AVRC offers 24-Hour Crisis Intervention support. Crisis Intervention is available to any survivors of violent crime, whether a crime has been reported to law enforcement or not; AVRC does not require that a client report their victimization to law enforcement in order for services to be received. Crisis Intervention support can be accessed in many ways, including calling AVRC’s 24-hour hotline number at (719) 384-7764, by walking in to the AVRC office, at 415 Colorado Ave., La Junta, during office hours, or by referral from a 3rd party agency, including, but not limited to, mental/physical health professionals, court staff, legal aid, and other local support agencies. While working with AVRC staff, safety is a top priority; AVRC will work with the client to meet the immediate needs they may have that puts their safety at risk.

All of AVRC’s services are voluntary. AVRC Staff will not force a victim to take any steps that they are not ready to take or feel are not in their best interest. AVRC Staff will do their best to provide the survivor with the resources and options that may best meet their needs, in order for them to make an informed decision about their next steps toward safety, self-sufficiency, and recovery.

If you, or someone you know, may be in need of Crisis Intervention support, or have any questions about AVRC’s services, please do not hesitate to come in to the AVRC Office, or to call AVRC’s 24-Hour Hotline #.

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

 

Non-Profit Agency, Sexual Assualt, Victim Service Agency

Sexual Abuse and the Culture of Silence

There has been a lot of recent discussion over the topic of sexual abuse, due in part to media attention being focused on what is occurring in Hollywood. Several women and men have come forward, sharing their experience with the “Culture of Silence”, wherein they were sexually abused, assaulted or harassed by someone in a possible position of authority or seniority over them; someone they knew, worked with, or worked for. Many have further indicated that this social dynamic is a secret, hidden in plain sight and that a lot of people know it has been going on, but rarely does anyone say or do anything about it. Sexual abuse has been treated as commonplace, and this all lends itself to an ongoing cycle of violence.

To stop the cycle, we must work to better understand the violence. Sexual abuse isn’t about sexual gratification. Violent abuse, in any form, is about obtaining power and control over someone. It is characterized as an exertion of one’s power over another, by force that can be physical, emotional, mental, financial, and/or sexual, giving the perpetrator a sense of control over their victim. These acts of sexual violence are done without consent from the victim, also as in instances when a victim is unable to understand or give consent. Consent, as defined by Colorado state law, means “cooperation in act or attitude pursuant to an exercise of free will and with knowledge of the nature of the act” (Colorado Revised Statutes Annotated § 18-3-401). Understand that without appropriate consent, any proceeding sexual act can be characterized as an act of violence.

7_Out_of_10_Rapes 122016

A method by which an offender may gain more power is when the offender can use their relationship with their victim to gain further, ongoing access and control; this is a common feature in the survivor stories from Hollywood. In 70% of cases of reported rape, the offender was someone known to the victim, including acquaintances, current or former partners, or family members. In a rural setting, a survivor may not feel safe to report due to a lack of anonymity of either both the victim or their attacker, as is typical to characterize small towns with “everybody knows everybody”. Another challenge rural victims can face is a lack of resources or little knowledge about the resources available. These factors, among others, contribute to rape being one of the most under-reported crimes; nearly 65% of rapes are not reported to law enforcement. Survivors of sexual violence can experience shame, self-blame, and guilt, and the fear of not being believed and a culture of victim-blaming only serves to strengthen the “Culture of Silence”.

Coming forward and telling your story is a deeply personal decision; recognize that you are not alone and that support is out there. If you, or someone you know has been a victim of sexual violence and is seeking support, whether a report to law enforcement has been made or not, agencies are available to help.
#MeToo

National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673)
Arkansas Valley Resource Center, serving Bent, Crowley, and Otero Counties,
via 24 Hour Hotline at (719) 384-7764
.

Statistics provided by the Rape, Abuse, & Incent National Network (RAINN)
https://www.rainn.org/statistics