crime victims rights, domestic violence, Intimate Partner Violence, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

Strangulation: Lethality at 750%

When it comes to physical abuse, there are few actions, on their own, that are as lethal as the act of strangulation. Strangulation is most commonly associated with or referred to as “choking”, but they are both very different. Choking is caused by a foreign body obstructing the airway, such as with food or a small object. Strangulation, on the other hand, is the obstruction of blood vessels and/or air passages in the neck, resulting in asphyxia, by way of external force. In other words, “choking” is usually an accidental occurrence; strangulation is the deliberate act meant to terrorize.

abusers strangle

Per Colorado law, specifically CRS 18-3-203(i), strangulation is an act of assault in the 2nd degree defined as:
A person commits the crime of assault in the second degree if, with intent to cause bodily injury, he or she applies sufficient pressure to impede or restrict breathing or circulation of the blood of another person by applying such pressure to the neck or by blocking the nose or mouth of the other person and thereby causes bodily injury.
Colorado is among 48 states, 20 tribes, and 2 U.S. Territories that have felony strangulation laws on the books. There are also federal and military codes regarding strangulation.

But why is strangulation so serious, you may ask?

Strangulation is often referred to as an act that takes victims to “the edge of homicide”. The act of non-fatal strangulation increases the risk of homicide that the victim faces by 750%; the victim is nearly 8 times more likely to end up dead at the hands of their abuser after strangulation occurred. What’s worse, a victim may survive the immediate incident(s) of strangulation, but could die from their injuries or related complications days, weeks, or even years later. Going even beyond the lethality faced by the original strangulation vicitm, there are studies that have linked perpetrators with a history of domestic violence, including and particularly strangulation, to being more likely to murder law enforcement officers and be mass shooters. Such perpetrators include the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooter, Omar Mateen, who had previously committed the act of strangulation on multiple partners.

Strangulation takes 5-10 seconds to render the victim unconscious, and 4-5 minutes to cause brain death. This is due to asphyxiation, which is the process of being deprived oxygen. It takes 4 pounds of pressure to block the jugular vein, preventing deoxygenated blood from leaving the brain; it takes 6 pounds of pressure to pull the trigger of a gun. It takes 11 pounds of pressure to block the carotid artery, preventing oxygenated blood from reaching the brain; it takes 20 pounds of pressure to open a can of soda. It takes 33 pounds of pressure to block the trachea, which restricts breathing; the average handshake applies about 80-100 pounds of pressure.

A struggle that strangulation victims can face is that immediate injuries from such an attack are not always apparent. Only in half of all reported cases do victims have visible signs of strangulation, and only 15% of that may be photographed. Signs and symptoms of strangulation can be both internal and external. Examples of external signs (injuries that can be observed by the victim, law enforcement, or a medical professional) can include:

  • petechiae (little red dots) on the eyeball, eyelid, face, scalp, and ears,
  • bruising around the neck, mouth, and chest or behind the ears,
  • swollen tongue or face,
  • defensive scratches (from where the victim was trying to remove their batterer’s hands from around their neck or face), and
  • stroke-like facial or eyelid drooping.

Symptoms (things that may not always be outwardly observed, but can be described by the victim) can include:

  • difficulty swallowing,
  • loss of memory,
  • nausea, 
  • extremity weakness, 
  • difficulty breathing, and
  • loss of sensation.


It is important to document the signs and symptoms you experience as they occur, and to seek medical treatment as soon as possible, even if you do not notice any signs or symptoms immediately. It can sometimes take hours or days for these signs and symptoms to manifest, and some signs and symptoms may be difficult for a victim to see or recognize without a medical professional’s assistance.

If you have been strangled, or are aware of a friend or loved one who has been strangled, support and education are critical! Contact AVRC Staff 24/7 for more information 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


Statistics and information regarding strangulation provided by:
The Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention


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, 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.

crime victims rights, domestic violence, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Intimate Partner Violence, Victim Rights Act, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

Domestic Violence in Colorado: Top Facts to Know

Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2018 (#DVAM2018) is in full swing, and the theme for the year is:
With this in mind, here are some facts regarding Domestic Violence in the state of Colorado, to spread awareness about this serious issue and how close to home it may actually be.

  1. Domestic Violence (DV), under the Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS Title 18 Criminal Code § 18-6-8003), is defined as an act or threatened act of violence upon a person whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship. It further defines “intimate relationship” as a relationship between spouses, former spouses, past or present unmarried couples, or persons who are both the parents of the same child, regardless of whether the persons have been married or have lived together at any time.
  2. DV, per Colorado Law, is a criminal sentence enhancement. This means that if a DV perpetrator is charged and convicted, the sentence of the crime(s) committed (harassment, assault, etc.) increase, due to the potential lethality of the situation.
  3. In Colorado DV cases, if law enforcement has probable cause to believe that DV has occurred, the perpetrator is to be automatically arrested. Additionally, the perpetrator is to be held without bond until he goes before a Judge for advisement, and a mandatory (criminal) no-contact protection order is issued.
  4. Colorado DV cases cannot be dropped by the victim in the case. It is at the discretion of the State, specifically the prosecuting District Attorney’s Office, to “drop charges”.
  5. Per the Colorado Victim Rights Act (VRA), Domestic Violence is considered a violent crime. As such, victims of DV are to be protected throughout duration of the criminal justice process under the Colorado VRA.
  6. As a VRA protected crime, the victim of a DV case that has been reported and charged may be able to access Victims Compensation to pay for expenses that may have been a result of their victimization.
  7. Of the crimes against persons reported to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2017, 18,239 were committed by a current or previous intimate partner of the victim; in 2016, these reports totaled 17,423.
  8. From 2013 to 2017, CBI has reported a total of 129 murders committed by former or current intimate partners of the victim. Of these, 2 were reported within the 16th Judicial District (Bent, Crowley, and Otero counties).
  9. The Arkansas Valley Resource Center was created, in 1987, in response to a DV murder that occurred in the 16th Judicial District (Bent, Otero, and Crowley Counties).

If you, a friend, or a family member are a victim of Domestic Violence, and you are in need of support, AVRC Staff are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your contacts are confidential/privileged and at no cost to you. Reach out today!

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.

domestic violence, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Non-Profit Agency, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

October is Domest Violence Awareness Month (#DVAM)

Starting October 1st, Domestic Violence Awareness Month started across the country. Beginning in 1987, #DVAM has celebrated over 30 years of hope, education, and advocacy. This year, the Domestic Violence Awareness Project has started a campaign geared toward the overall goal of social change. 



Awareness is the key to understanding how we can take Action against Domestic Violence, so that Change can truly take hold! All it takes is #1thing to start making a difference today!

Stay tuned for more #DVAM topics throughout the month of October!


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.


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.


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.


 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
The National Network to End Domestic Violence

Elder financial abuse/exploitation information provided by:
The National Center on Elder Abuse
The National Council on Aging


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