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:
AWARENESS + ACTION = SOCIAL CHANGE
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, Intimate Partner Violence, Non-Profit Agency, Victim Rights Act, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children

Did you know that being witness to Domestic Violence (DV) as a child can alter your DNA? Or that if a pregnant woman experiences DV during her pregnancy, her unborn child is more likely to develop anxiety or depression? A study conducted in 2014 out of New Orleans showed that being exposed to violence in their home resulted in children having shortened chromosome tips (telomeres). The degradation of these telomeres results in cellular aging, and for children in homes where DV is occurring, it can cost them as much as 7 to 10 years. This damage to the child’s DNA also means they are at increased risk for several mental and physical issues, including diabetes, heart disease, mental illness, and obesity.

On September 13, 2017, there were a total of 25,022 children receiving DV-related services, including 12,926 children that were in emergency shelter.

Every year, for the past 13 years, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) has completed a census to determine, on one given day, how many individuals are seeking and receiving services in relation to DV, with the intent of raising awareness for the issue. NNEDV’s 12th Annual Census Report documented that on September 13, 2017, there were a total of 25,022 children receiving DV-related services, including 12,926 children that were in emergency shelter across the United States (US). That was just on that one day! What if 12,000 was the average figure for this circumstance? That means that over 4 million children may have had to enter emergency shelter, with their abused parent, in 2017.

Over 15 million (1 in 15) children in the US live in homes where DV has occurred at least 1 time within the past 12 months; 90% of those children are witness to this violence. So what exactly does “witness” mean in all of this? It doesn’t just mean being in the room as an altercation takes place. The child may not even be in the home when the actual incident occurs, but can feel the tension building up before, and see the aftermath.

The child can be in the backyard and hear yelling and verbal abuses.
The child can be in their room and hear someone being hit.
The child can be sitting in the kitchen immediately after the fight is over and see broken dishes on the floor.
The child can be getting ready to go to school the day after and see bruises on the abused parent.

The stress and tension from the cycle of DV has a lasting impact on these 15 million+ children. Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), such as nightmares, flashbacks, and hyper-vigilance, have been found in 100% of children in DV homes. They are more likely to attempt suicide, be sexually abused, abuse drugs and alcohol, and participate in criminal activity. These children are also 3 times as likely to be victims and/or perpetrators of DV, as opposed to their peers. Unless taught otherwise, children in DV homes will continue the cycle of domestic violence.

With help, the cycle of violence may be stopped, and the child can move forward to have a healthy future. As a parent, professional, friend, or family member, if you have any questions on how this may be achieved, do not hesitate to give the Staff at the Arkansas Valley Resource Center a call. AVRC Staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!

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.

 

Statistics provided by www.domesticshelters.org & www.nnedv.org

 

 

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_Action_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.

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.

Abuse in Focus, domestic violence, Elder Abuse, Sexual Assualt, Stalking, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

Abuse in Focus: Gaslighting

There are many types of abuse utilized to exert power over an individual in an effort to control them. These patterns can include physical, financial, emotional, and mental; gaslighting is a form of mental and emotional abuse.  

textgram_1515930838

This abusive behavior is one that has been used by family, friends, intimate partners, and in the workplace, and employs multiple tactics to achieve control. Some of these tactics are:

  1. Minimization: This is a downplaying of other abusive behaviors, to trivialize how the victim may feel or think. By the abuser claiming they were only joking, telling the victim they “take things too seriously”, or by calling the victim “overly sensitive”, the abuser can gain more power over their victim.
    i.e., “I am only joking, why are you taking this so seriously? Stop being so sensitive all the time.”
  2. Denial: An abuser may completely deny having said or done something, whether the victim has proof of the behavior or not. This is meant to make a victim question themselves on whether something did actually occur, and may lead the victim to think they are “going crazy”.
    i.e., “You are lying. I never said/did that. Quit making stuff up.”
  3. Discrediting: The abuser tells the victim, or other people, that the victim is crazy, irrational, unstable, or untrustworthy. This can isolate the victim, making it more difficult for them to leave an abusive situation.
  4. Countering: The abusive party repeatedly questions the victim’s memory, telling them they don’t remember things correctly. As with many other gaslighting patterns, this is designed to make the victim second guess themselves, to minimize past behaviors, or to outright deny something occurred.
    i.e., “That is not how that happened. You never remember anything right.”

Some indicators that you may be the victim of gaslighting can include:

  1. Second guessing your perceptions, thoughts, feelings, or memory.
  2. Feeling like you are overly sensitive, confused, or crazy.
  3. Frequently apologizing to your abuser.
  4. Feeling like you can’t do anything right.
  5. Struggling to make decisions.
  6. Having the sensation that something is wrong, or that you used to be a different person (more happy, confident, relaxed).

If you may believe that you or someone you know is a victim of gaslighting, or have further questions regarding this or other abusive behaviors, AVRC staff are available to assist!

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

 

Facts provided by the National Domestic Violence Hotline
http://www.thehotline.org/what-is-gaslighting/

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

Stalking: Get the Facts

     Stalking is often depicted in popular media by a hooded stranger creeping in the shadows, following their victims at a distance, always watching them. In reality, stalking takes on many forms, and sometimes occurs without the offender ever having to leave their home. With the rise in social media, methods of stalking have become even more advanced, and it is that much more important to understand the elements of stalking, and the potential lethality of the overall behavior.

Stalking Laws

  • Stalking is considered a felony upon first offense in the state of Colorado.
  • Colorado Law, or “Vonnie’s Law,” defines stalking as:
    1) a credible threat, and/or 
    2) repeated behavior, that reasonably causes someone to be afraid or suffer serious emotional distress.
  • “Vonnie’s Law” further states that stalking behaviors are identified as following, approaching, putting under surveillance, communicating with or making threats to or regarding the individual, friends or immediate family of the individual, and other repeated patterns or contacts that would cause a reasonable person to suffer serious emotional distress and does cause that person to suffer serious emotional distress.
  • All 50 states have laws against stalking, but less than 1/3 of the states classify stalking as a felony at first offense .
    stalker-stats-1-223x300

Stalking Statistics

  • 1 in every 6 women and 1 out of every 19 men in the United states have been stalked in their lifetime.
  • 3 out of 4 stalking victims know their stalkers, including family, current or former intimate partners, and acquaintances.
  • 66% of female stalking victims were stalked by a current or former intimate partner.
  • 76% of female homicide victims killed by a current of former intimate partner were stalked by their murderer prior to their death.
  • Of male stalking victims, 48% reported they were stalked by another male, and 45% by a female.
  • People aged 18-24 have the highest rates of stalking victimization.Privacy-Infographic-20151125-featured-image

Cyber-Stalking

  • Cyber-stalking is a form of stalking that utilizes technology to harass, threaten, or follow a person.
  • Cyber-stalking includes tracking or monitoring a victim’s whereabouts and actions using GPS on their phone or vehicle, and/or through social media; sending threatening messages and images by email, social media, or text; hacking a victim’s personal accounts (including email, social media, and phone) to monitor, harass, or discredit the victim; and posting personal information, such as date of birth, social security number, and phone number on the internet.

The Impact

  • Stalking victims suffer much higher rates of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and social dysfunction than the general population.
  • 1 in 4 stalking victims contemplated suicide.
  • 37% of stalking victims fulfill the diagnostic criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
  • 86% of stalking victims surveyed reported that their personalities had changed as a result of being stalked.

If you, a friend, or loved one, are the victim of stalking, or would like to know more about the facts of stalking, please know that you aren’t alone, and that help 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

 

Statistics provided by:
The Office for Victims of Crime
https://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ncvrw2017/images/en_artwork/Fact_Sheets/2017NCVRW_Stalking_508.pdf
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

https://ncadvvoices.org/2017/01/30/quick-guide-to-stalking-16-important-statistics-and-what-you-can-do-about-it/

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