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.

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.
domestic violence, Non-Profit Agency, Services Spotlight, Victim Service Agency

AVRC Services Spotlight: Children’s Counseling Program

     The Staff at the Arkansas Valley Resource Center (AVRC) strive to provide the best services for all victims of violent crime. Navigating one’s thoughts and emotions in the wake of violent crime can be difficult, and for a child, it may be that much more of a challenge to understand what they are experiencing. With that in mind, AVRC offers a counseling program for children that focuses on various elements to help a child survivor potentially move forward in their recovery from their victimization.
      The AVRC Children’s Counseling Program is based on set curriculum that is divided in to age groups, starting at 5 years old. The curriculum focuses on various topics, including self esteem, choices, and anger, to help children better understand their situation. Counseling can be completed with an individual child, with a sibling group, or with groups of children from multiple families, depending on the circumstances and needs of each case. As with AVRC’s Peer and Group Counseling, or any other services AVRC offers, there is no charge for the Children’s Counseling Program. If the needs of an individual in counseling with AVRC are not being met, or if it is identified that there are mental health issues that may need to be addressed, AVRC Staff can provide appropriate referrals to potentially meet these needs.

If you, or someone you may know, is seeking more information on AVRC’s services, including the Children’s Counseling Program, 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.
Non-Profit Agency, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

AVRC Services Spotlight: Civil Protection Order Advocacy

The Arkansas Valley Resource Center (AVRC) offers support services for clients with civil legal needs, including assisting a client in obtaining a Civil Protection Order (CPO). Seeking a CPO is a process open to any victim of violent crime with immediate safety needs. With some cases, either a client chooses not to report their immediate victimization because they don’t feel safe to do so, or law enforcement is unable to make an arrest in relation to the victimization. In such cases, the next best step to take may be seeking a CPO, which can potentially be made permanent. In the event that an arrest has been made in relation to a victimization, survivors are still able to potentially obtain a CPO, especially if they feel they need longer-term protection. AVRC Staff can aid the client in completing the initial CPO paperwork, go with the client to the hearings related to the CPO process for support, help the client prepare for these hearings, and assist the client in getting the CPO paperwork issued by the courts served on their offender.  It is important to understand that AVRC advocates provide advocacy and support during this process but not legal advice.  If a client requires legal advice over and above the advocacy and support our agency can provide, we will provide appropriate referrals to legal experts.

As with all of AVRC’s services, it is not required that a crime be reported to law enforcement, as we recognize a survivor may feel that is not the best choice for them at the time. A CPO in place does not guarantee that no new abuses will occur, but it may make it more likely that ongoing abuses are limited, or that an offender may be charged for these ongoing abuses, if reported. AVRC will encourage, support, and educate a survivor on the best practices and options for their situation, but it is ultimately the survivor’s choice on what steps are best for them, including whether or not to seek a CPO.

If you are in need of assistance in seeking a civil protection order for your safety, or would like more information on AVRC’s other services, you can speak to staff 24 hours a day!

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 or economic condition.