crime victims rights, domestic violence, Intimate Partner Violence, Non-Profit Agency, Stalking, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

Emotional Abuse: Bruises on the Heart & Mind

What is normal when you are dating?

Wanting to have sex with your dating partner? Yup.

Texting each other throughout the day? Totally.

Hanging out? Sure.

But at what point do these behaviors cross the line to become abusive?

Being pressured into having sex with your partner when you aren’t ready to take that step? Emotional abuse.

Constantly having to text your partner to “check in” or getting punished for not answering a text quickly enough? Emotional abuse.

Being forced to spend all your time with your partner, at the expense of your relationships with friends and family or activities you enjoy? Emotional abuse.

Emotional abuse is abuse.

It doesn’t leave outward scars, but that doesn’t mean it can’t cause serious damage to a survivor’s mental and emotional well-being. Often, it is one of the key warning signs of an unhealthy or abusive relationship. Emotional abuse can take on many forms, including jealousy or possessiveness, isolation from friends and family, stalking, threats of suicide or harm to someone you care about, name calling and put-downs, and digital abuse. What’s worse, is that when emotional abuses happen, they can take a toll on a survivor’s self esteem, mental health, and physical health. When an abuser keeps telling their partner that they are “ugly”, “worthless”, “dumb”, “untrustworthy”, and “crazy”, the partner may start to believe the abuser, making it that much harder to end the relationship. Because it comes in so many forms, it can be easy to miss, or dismiss as normal. But emotional abuse is not normal.

Emotional abuse is abuse.

Let’s run through some scenarios of emotional abuse in dating relationships.

Dave and Jessica have been dating for a while. More and more, Dave is pressuring Jessicadownload (1) into having sex with him and sending him nudes. Jessica doesn’t feel ready to have sex, but she does send Dave some pictures of herself in her underwear. Dave keeps saying, “If you love me, you will have sex with me.” Jessica decides she isn’t comfortable with the pressure Dave is putting her under and tries to break up with him. Dave threatens to kill himself if Jessica breaks up with him. Jessica apologizes and says she won’t break up with him. Eventually Dave breaks up with Jessica because she won’t have sex with him. After they break up, Dave posts the pictures Jessica sent him online, calling Jessica a slut and whore.

What types of emotional abuse happened in Dave and Jessica’s relationship? Dave was pressuring Jessica into doing something she wasn’t comfortable with and then tried to manipulate her into doing it to “prove” she loved him. When Jessica tried to end the relationship, Dave made threats of self-harm to control Jessica into staying with him. When Dave broke up with Jessica, he posted private pictures online and called her names. Dave’s abusive behaviors included emotional manipulation, threats, verbal abuse, sexual abuse and digital abuse.

Let’s look at another scenario.

downloadCally and Luis mostly communicate via text throughout the week. Luis tutors after school to earn some extra money, so he can go spend time with Cally on the weekends. Cally told Luis she has been cheated on before, so she has a hard time trusting her boyfriends. Cally tells Luis to give Cally his social media passwords to make sure he isn’t talking to other girls, saying “It shouldn’t be a problem if you don’t have anything to hide from me.” Luis knows he isn’t cheating on Cally, so he gives her his passwords so she will trust him. One day, Luis is tutoring a girl who tags him in a picture of them together on Facebook. Luis silences his phone while he is working, so when he does go to check his phone after work, Luis finds 37 missed calls and 107 texts from Cally that she sent during the hour Luis was tutoring. Many of the texts accuse Luis of sleeping with the other girl and says Luis is an “asshole just like all of my other exes”. When Luis gets a hold of Cally, she demands that Luis not tutor the other girl anymore. Eventually Cally starts telling Luis to quit his tutoring job, because Cally can’t trust him, even though Luis has repeatedly told Cally he hasn’t cheated on her and never will.

Cally made excuses for her behavior right from the start, blaming her behavior on her past relationships. Cally insisted she be allowed access to Luis’s social media accounts to prove Luis isn’t cheating. When Luis didn’t immediately respond to Cally’s calls and texts while he was working, she blew up his phone with excessive contacts in a short period of time. Cally called Luis names, accused him of cheating on her, and demanded he stop tutoring other girls, ultimately leading to her telling him to quit his job. Cally made false accusations, displayed extreme jealousy, and was digitally, verbally, and financially abusive to Luis.

Let’s look at one more scenario.

James and Sarah started dating over summer break. When they go back to school in the fall, Sarah starts playing volleyball and isn’t seeing James as often. After school, Sarah usually spends time with her friends. When she does see James, he asks her to spend imagesmore time with him and accuses Sarah of not putting their relationship first. James tells Sarah to quit volleyball so they could be together more. James and Sarah start fighting a lot, and James always ends up yelling and calling Sarah selfish. After their fights James always says, “I hate when we fight, but you just make me so mad! That is why I yell at you.” Sarah agrees to quit volleyball, even though she really enjoys it. James starts showing up where Sarah is hanging out with her friends, even though she didn’t tell him where they would be or invite him. James also starts repeatedly calling Sarah’s house late at night and hanging up, and leaving little gifts in her car, which makes Sarah uncomfortable. Sarah breaks up with James, but he continues to show up at the places she is at and leaving little gifts in her car, even though she had asked him to stop.

James tried to insinuate that Sarah was selfish and not putting their relationship first, forcing her into quitting something she enjoys doing. James also blamed Sarah for him getting angry and yelling at her. James escalated to stalking Sarah, even after she broke up with him and told him to leave her alone. James was emotionally manipulative, put Sarah down, isolated her from activities she enjoyed, and was stalking her.

Emotional abuse is abuse.

It doesn’t leave outward scars. It makes you second guess yourself. It makes you feel bad, or that you are going crazy. Emotional abuse is controlling, without ever laying a hand on you. Emotional abuse can lead to physical abuse and sexual assault. It is important to try to set healthy boundaries early on in your relationship and recognize that you aren’t alone, even when your abuser may insist otherwise.

AVRC Staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you have any questions about emotional abuse, healthy boundaries and dating violence, or if you want to seek support and safety, help is only one 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, mental health status, substance use or economic condition.

 

crime victims rights, domestic violence, Non-Profit Agency, Services Spotlight, Sexual Assualt, Stalking, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

AVRC Services Spotlight: Criminal Justice System Advocacy

Recovery from violent crime and/or ongoing abuse can potentially feel overwhelming, especially when trying to juggle one’s daily life on top of navigating the ins and outs of  the criminal justice system.

Who am I supposed to talk to about my concerns regarding my case?

What do I do if I am struggling to make contact with someone?

What are my rights as a victim of violent crime?

What does ‘Arraignment’ mean? 

Sometimes, we just need a helping hand to let us know where to go or what to expect next. As a community based agency, the Arkansas Valley Resource Center (AVRC) stands alongside our local criminal justice system agencies (law enforcement, district attorney, courts, probation, etc,), but also apart from them, allowing AVRC Staff to potentially address the overall needs of the survivor in tandem with their criminal justice case(s) needs.

AVRC can, at the survivor’s request, refer to, arrange contact with, and/or attend contacts with criminal justice agencies, such as meeting with the District Attorney or reporting new and/or ongoing crime to law enforcement. Also, AVRC staff may be available to go with the victim to hearings and trials regarding their victimization, for emotional support. AVRC staff can assist the survivor in completing a victim impact statement or seeking victim compensation to possibly meet financial needs that arise from their victimization. AVRC will educate clients on the Colorado Victim Rights Act (VRA), and can assist when a victim feels their Victims Rights may have been violated, including making a VRA complaint.

If you or someone you know has needs relating to their victimization and the criminal justice system, and is need of support, AVRC staff is available 24/7 to answer your questions!

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

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

Abuse in Focus, crime victims rights, domestic violence, Elder Abuse, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

Abuse in Focus: Financial Abuse

Financial abuse, also known as economic abuse, is a pattern of abuse that can be very common, but seems to be infrequently discussed or publicized. Most typically, financial abuse appears to be associated with elder abuse, but has also been found to occur in domestically violent relationships, as well as with at-risk adults. With domestic violence (DV), 99% of cases identified some form of financial abuse. When examining elder abuse, financial abuse occurred in upwards of 16% of cases, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse.

So what is financial abuse? In general terms, it is financial-based control and/or exploitation of a victim. This is a control over finances and other assets, whether the money is a joint fund or the victim’s own income. In the context of  elder abuse, the National Council on Aging defines financial abuse (financial exploitation) as “the misuse or withholding of an older adult’s resource by another, which can be identified by a sudden change in the victim’s financial situation. Financial exploitation can also occur with at-risk adults who aren’t necessarily elderly. In some instances, the victim may request that a 3rd party manage their income for them, and that 3rd party either takes that income for themselves, or won’t allow the victim to access their assets, as a means to control the victim. Other types of financial exploitation of elders and at-risk adults can be the perpetrator naming themselves as a benefactor or changing other legal financial documents without consent from the victim. These behaviors can also occur with DV, as well.

SchroederUSNews_600

In DV cases, financial/economic abuse can take on many forms, committed with the goal of limiting a victim’s access to economic resources. Financial abuse can make it potentially more difficult to leave the abusive relationship, as the victim may not have the resources to seek legal aid, obtain their own home away from their abuser, or maintain the bills in their current home.

Financial+Abuse

 As with every abusive behavior, control is the overall goal. These patterns may limit the victim’s ability to meet their basic needs, and can make them less confident about reporting or leaving the abusive situation. With support, a victim may access the resources and tools to regain control over their life. Should you, a friend, or family member be a victim of financial abuse, don’t hesitate to reach out, because support is available. If you would like to know more about financial abuse, or are seeking resources to potentially stop or recover from financial abuse, AVRC staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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

 

DV financial abuse information provided by:
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
https://ncadv.org/blog/posts/quick-guide-economic-and-financial-abuse
&
The National Network to End Domestic Violence
https://nnedv.org/content/about-financial-abuse/

Elder financial abuse/exploitation information provided by:
The National Center on Elder Abuse
https://ncea.acl.gov/
&
The National Council on Aging
https://www.ncoa.org/public-policy-action/elder-justice/elder-abuse-facts/

 

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

crime victims rights, Human Trafficking, Non-Profit Agency, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

Human Trafficking: The Modern Slave Trade

July 30th is World Day against Trafficking in Persons, and in acknowledgement of this, the following is a look at the crime of human trafficking, examined on a global, state, and local level. Human trafficking is not just something that happens “elsewhere” and to “other people”. It is a very real issue, not just globally, but in the state of Colorado and as close as Rocky Ford.

Human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry in the world. As of 2011, it is estimated that 10-30 million modern day slaves exist, of whom are victims of human trafficking. There are multiple types of trafficking, including forced labor trafficking and sex trafficking. Forced labor industries include agricultural, traveling sales crews, and health and beauty services; sex trafficking involves forced prostitution and sex slavery. Trafficking victims come from all walks of life, including men, women, and children, and can be just as likely to be US citizens as foreign nationals. 

In the state of Colorado, there have been several documented cases of both sex and labor trafficking ranging from as far north as Larimer County and Weld County, with the highest concentration of cases happening through the i-25 corridor. The state has also seen landmark cases, specifically a case wherein the offender received the highest recorded charge in relation to human trafficking in US history. Per the Colorado Network to End Human Trafficking (CoNEHT), Otero County residents have made 3 calls to their hotline within 3 years; CoNEHT also documented 16 calls from Pueblo County and 149 from El Paso County within that same three-year time frame. The March 2018 Edition of the Colorado Anti-Trafficking Insider Newsletter details a case of labor trafficking that occurred in Rocky Ford, and highlights how isolated, manipulated, and scared victims of trafficking can feel.

Some of the red flags indicating human trafficking can include:

  • Unusual work or living conditions, such as being unpaid or severely underpaid for work, working in the commercial sex industry and having a pimp/manager, working excessively long and/or unusual hours, or high security measures in the work and/or living locations (e.g. opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.).
  • Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior, including fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid behaviors, and exhibiting unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up law enforcement
  • Poor Physical Health, such as lack of medical care and/or being denied medical services by employer, appearing malnourished or showing signs of repeated exposure to harmful chemicals, and showing signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture.
  • Geographic Disorientation, such as making claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address, a lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or of what city he/she is in, and loss of sense of time.

Other patterns to be aware of are if the employer is withholding important documents from the victim (visas, ID’s, birth certificates, social security cards, passports, etc.), that the employer may have made threats of harm to the victim or their family and friends or threats of deportation, and if there is a forced debt to the employer that is not being paid off or is continuously being added to. These are all tactics to coerce and control the victim, making it harder to escape the situation.

HT Power and Control Wheel

If you suspect that you know someone who is a victim of human trafficking, there are multiple ways to report this:

  • Contact local law enforcement, or call 911 if there is an emergency.
  • Colorado Human Trafficking Hotline 1-866-455-5075
  • National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-3737-888 (Multi-Lingual)
     

If you want more information regarding human trafficking, feel free to contact AVRC Staff, who are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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

 

Video provided by Office for Victims of Crime
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrLWiVJn7Js&list=PLDuKXs-qp_GdY5fy1Yj0sPdLBRaGyRXkI
Statistics provided by the CoNEHT
https://combathumantrafficking.org/
1-866-455-5075
/ 303-295-0451
Red Flags of Human Trafficking information provided by
The National Human Trafficking Hotline
Call 1-888-373-7888 ( TTY: 711)|Text 233733
https://humantraffickinghotline.org/

AVRC is non-discriminatory agency regarding race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation or economic condition.
crime victims rights, Non-Profit Agency, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

Expand the Circle, Reach All Victims

On April 2nd, 2018, the Arkansas Valley Resource Center (AVRC), along with the Mayor & City Council of the city of La Junta, entered a proclamation recognizing April 8th through April 14th, 2018, as National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW). The theme of this year’s NCVRW is: 

EXPAND THE CIRCLE. REACH ALL VICTIMS.

Since 1987, AVRC has endeavored to improve and expand our services for victim’s of violent crime in the Arkansas Valley. The best example of this is when, in 1996, AVRC extended their services from female victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuses to include services for all victims of violent crime, including child abuse, burglary, assault, and stalking. To further examine how agencies across the country are answering the call to Expand the Circle, the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) released the following video regarding the 2018 NCVRW theme and the mission it stands for.

 

If you, or someone you know is a victim of violent crime, if you are interested about learning about AVRC’s services, or  want to know more about the Victim’s Rights Act for the state of the Colorado, feel free to contact AVRC staff!

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.
crime victims rights, Non-Profit Agency, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

National Crime Victim’s Rights Week 2018

National Crime Victim’s Rights Week (NCVRW) 2018 is fast approaching, and so in honor of that, here are a few facts regarding Victim’s Rights history, both in Colorado and across the nation.

 

  • In 1975, the first “Victim’ Rights Week” was organized by the Philadelphia District Attorney.
  • The National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards is established in 1977 by the existing 22 state victim compensation programs to foster a nationwide network of compensation programs.
  • Programs including the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCASA), the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), and Parents Of Murdered Children, Inc. (POMC) were established in 1978.
  • In 1981, President Ronald Reagan proclaims the first national “Crime Victims’ Week” in April.
  • The Victim and Witness Protection Act of 1982 brings “fair treatment standards” to victims and witnesses in the federal criminal justice system.
  • In 1983, the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) is established by the U.S. Department of Justice within the Office of Justice Programs to implement recommendations from the President’s Task Force on Victims of Crime. OVC establishes a national resource center, trains professionals, and develops model legislation to protect victims’ rights.
  • The passage of the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) in 1984 established the Crime Victims Fund, made up of federal criminal fines, penalties, and bond forfeitures, to support state victim compensation and local victim assistance programs.
  • Also in 1984,  victim/witness notification system is established within the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
  • By the end of 1986, 35 states have established victim compensation programs. 
  • In 1988, victims’ rights constitutional amendments are introduced in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, South Carolina, and Washington. Florida’s amendment is placed on the November ballot, where it passes with 90 percent of the vote. Michigan’s amendment passes with more than 80 percent of the vote.
  • The Victims’ Rights and Restitution Act of 1990 incorporates a Bill of Rights for federal crime victims and codifies services that should be available to victims of crime.
  • Colorado legislators introduce a victims’ rights constitutional amendment on the first day of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. The bill is unanimously passed by both Houses to be placed on the ballot in 1992.
  • In 1992, five states—Colorado, Kansas, Illinois, Missouri, and New Mexico—ratify victims’ rights constitutional amendments.
  • In 1996, six additional states pass victims’ rights constitutional amendments—the largest number ever in a single year—bringing the total number of states with amendments to 20. States with new amendments include Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, Maryland, Ohio, and Utah. 
  • To fully recognize the sovereignty of Indian Nations, OVC for the first time provides victim assistance grants directly to tribes in Indian Country, in 1997.
  • Victimization rates reported in the National Crime Victimization Survey in 2000 are the lowest recorded since the survey’s creation in 1973.
  • By the end of 2002, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Guam have established crime victim compensation programs.
  • Congress passes and President Bush signs the Justice for All Act of 2004, which provides mechanisms at the federal level to enforce the rights of crime victims, giving victims and prosecutors legal standing to assert victims’ rights, authorizing the filing of writs of mandamus to assert a victim’s right, and requiring the U.S. Attorney General to establish a victims’ rights compliance program within the Department of Justice. 
  • In 2010, President Obama signs the Tribal Law and Order Act, designed to increase Tribal law enforcement agencies’ power to combat crime on reservations and to increase the accountability of federal agencies responsible for public safety in Indian Country. The Act requires federal prosecutors to keep data on criminal cases in Indian Country that they decline to prosecute, and to support prosecutions in Tribal court by sharing evidence.

If you have any questions regarding the Colorado Victims’ Rights Act (VRA), or if you are a victim of violent crime and are unsure of your rights, don’t hesitate to contact the Arkansas Valley Resource Center for info and support!

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.

 

 

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.