crime victims rights, domestic violence, Human Trafficking, Intimate Partner Violence, Non-Profit Agency, Sexual Assualt, Stalking, Victim Rights Act, Victim Service Agency, Victim Service Provider, Violent Crime

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week 2019

In 1992, Colorado joined four other states (Kansas, Illinois, Missouri, and New Mexico) in adding a crime victims’s rights amendment to the state constitution.  In looking at the history of the crime victims’ rights movement and Honoring the Past, we may change the face of the landscape and work toward Creating Hope for the Future.  

On April 22nd, 1991, the President of the United States announced Proclamation 6275, declaring the week of April 21st through April 27th National Crime Victim’s Rights Week. In this proclamation, the President urged “all Americans to join in honoring those who work in behalf of crime victims and their families”. At the start of this same week, Colorado legislators presented an amendment for the Colorado constitution to include victims’ rights, which was collectively passed by both state Houses. The bill for the amendment was placed on the ballot for 1992, and passed by voters on November 3rd that year. This established the Colorado Crime Victims’ Rights Act, which went into effect as of January 14th, 1993.

The Colorado Crime Victims’ Rights Act (VRA)  amendment states:

Any person who is a victim of a criminal act or such person’s designee, legal guardian, or surviving immediate family members if such person is deceased, shall have the right to be heard when relevant, informed and present at all critical stages of the criminal justice process. All terminology, including the term “critical stages” shall be defined by the general assembly (Article II, Section l6A Colorado State Constitution).

Further, the amendment specifies which crimes fall under the Colorado VRA, including domestic violence, sexual assault, murder, and robbery. (for a full list of the VRA covered crimes, click here). Under the Colorado VRA, victims are granted the following core rights:

  • To be treated with fairness, respect, and dignity;
  • To be informed of all “critical stages” of the criminal justice process (victims must request notification, in writing, for post-sentencing critical stages); and,
  • To be present and heard at specified critical stages in the criminal justice process.

Per the VRA, specific agencies within the criminal justice system, such as law enforcement, the district attorney’s office, and probation, are charged with various responsibilities to the victims of crime, relevant to the stages of the victim’s case. If these rights are not upheld, a victim may choose to file a complaint to the Colorado Department of Criminal Justice. In upholding the VRA, identifying gaps in protections, and working within the community to improve services for victims of violent crime, we can create hope to improve the future for victim’s of violent crime across the country, and across the world.

If you or someone you know may be a victim of violent crime, or is interested in learning more about the Colorado Crime Victims’ Rights Act, feel free to contact AVRC!

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

 

Information and quote on Proclamation 6275 provided by https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/STATUTE-105/pdf/STATUTE-105-Pg2522.pdf

Video and National VRA history provided by https://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ncvrw2019/

Colorado VRA history and information provided by https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dcj/victim-rights

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, Sexual Assualt, Stalking, Victim Service Agency, Victim Service Provider, Violent Crime

Teen Dating Violence: How much do you know?

Feburary is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (#TDVAM) and it is time to put your knowledge to the test! Let’s see how much you may know about healthy relationships and the facts about dating violence.
(Hint: Some of the answers can be found in AVRC’s 2018 #TDVAM Article,
 Go Orange this February!)

Multiple choice (can have more than one right answer)

1.) What percent of teens who experience dating violence attempt suicide?
     a) 44%
     b) 86%
     c) 50%
     d) 38%

2.) Abusive behaviors during dating violence include:
     a) Physical and sexual violence
     b) Mental and emotional violence
     c) Isolation and jealousy
     d) Stalking

3.) Among female victims of intimate partner violence, what percent were victimized by a current or former partner per age group?
     a) 52% of those aged between 12-22
     b) 94% of those aged between 16-19
     c) 66% of those aged between 16-24
     d) 70% of those aged between 20-24

4.) Why do people stay in abusive relationships?
     a) Fear or shame
     b) Pressure (social/peer, cultural/religious)
     c) Lack of support or resources
     d) Belief that abuse is normal

5.) How many teens who have experienced dating violence disclose their abuse?
     a) 50%
     b) 89%
     c) 33%
     d) 12%

6.) At what rate do high school students experience physical abuse from a dating partner:
     a) 2 million every year
     b) 1 million every 6 months
     c) 1.5 million every year
     d) 100,000 every month

7.) Long-term effects of teen dating violence can include:
     a) Eating disorders
     b) Drug and alcohol abuse
     c) Unhealthy sexual practices
     d) Risk of ongoing abuse in adult relationships

8.) Which of the following is a sign of a healthy relationship?
     a) Spending all your free time together.
     b) Maintaining interests, hobbies, and friendships outside of the relationship.
     c) Having sex every day, because it shows how much you love each other.
     d) Valuing each other’s opinions and boundaries.

True or False

1.) Over 80% of parents believe teen dating violence isn’t an issue, or admit they don’t know if it is an issue.  ___________
2.) Physical violence always leaves visible marks. ___________
3.) Dating violence is limited to in-person contacts.    ___________
4.) LGTBQIA+ teens and young adults experience dating violence less than heterosexuals. ___________
5.) People abuse their partners because of anger and substance abuse issues. ___________
6.) Your partner can’t rape you if you have had sex with them before. ___________
7.) Abuse always stops if you break up with your abuser. ___________

ANSWER KEY

Multiple choice (can have more than one right answer)

1.) What percent of teens who experience dating violence attempt suicide?
     c) 50%
Half of teens who have experienced dating violence attempt suicide, as opposed to 5.4% of young men and 12.5% of young women who have not been in an abusive dating relationship.

2.) Abusive behaviors include:
     a) Physical and sexual violence
     b) Mental and emotional violence
     c) Isolation and jealousy
     d) Stalking
Abusive behaviors include all of those listed above, as well as digital abuse and financial abuse.

3.) Among female victims of intimate partner violence, what percent were victimized by a current or former partner per age group?
    b) 94% of those aged between 16-19
d) 70% of those aged between 20-24
Girls and young women between the ages of 16 to 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence.

4.) Why do people stay in abusive relationships?
     a) Fear or shame
     b) Pressure (social/peer, cultural/religious)
     c) Lack of support or resources
     d) Belief that abuse is normal
There is no one reason why someone may stay in an abusive relationship, but the above are just some of many of these reasons. Other reasons can include fear of being outed, if the abused party is LGBTQIA+ and has not come out yet. Other reasons can include distrust of authorities, such as believing that adults or law enforcement won’t listen or help if abuse is disclosed.

5.) How many teens who have experienced dating violence disclose their abuse?
     c) 33%
Only 1/3 of teens disclose abuse to their friends or family.

6.) At what rate do high school students experience physical abuse from a dating partner:
     c) 1.5 million every year
Physical abuse can include pushing, shoving, hitting, and strangulation.

7.) Long-term effects of teen dating violence can include:
     a) Eating disorders
     b) Drug and alcohol abuse
c) Unhealthy sexual practices
d) Risk of ongoing abuse in adult relationship
Further risks include teen girls being sexually abused are six times more likely to become pregnant and twice as likely to get a Sexual Transmitted Infection (STI).

8.) Which of the following is a sign of a healthy relationship?
     b) Maintaining interests, hobbies, and friendships outside of the relationship.
     d) Valuing each other’s opinions and boundaries.
Healthy relationships are based on respect, trust, and consent.

True or False

1.) True. 81% of parents don’t realize that teen dating violence is an issue.

2.) False. Physical violence can cause internal, unseen injury, including broken bones and internal swelling, bruising, or bleeding.

3.) False. Dating violence can also include digital violence, such as cyber-bullying.

4.) False. LGBTQIA+ teens experience dating violence at the same rates as their heterosexual peers, which is an average of 1 in 3 teens and young adults.

5.) False. While anger and substance abuse can be an escalating factor in the cycle of violence, abuse is caused by control issues in the batterer.

6.) False. Regardless of whether or not you have had sex with a partner before, consent is required every single time.

7.) False. Violence doesn’t always stop after you break up with your abuser, and may actually escalate, which is why it is so important to seek support.

So, how did you do? If you have any questions about Teen Dating Violence (#TDVAM), or if you or someone you know needs safety and support options to deal with dating violence, AVRC Staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. One of the best steps anyone can take is to reach out for 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 a non-discriminatory agency regarding race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation, mental health status, substance use or economic condition.

 

Statistics and data on dating violence provided by https://www.loveisrespect.org/.

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, 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.
Non-Profit Agency, Sexual Assualt, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

One in Three/One in Six

1 in 3.

1 in 6.

Do you know what those numbers mean? It means that you observe a group of 3 women or 6 men on the street, it is statistically likely that at least one of those women and one of those men have experienced sexual violence within their lifetime. It is also possible that neither of these survivors felt safe to report their victimization, as 63% of sexual assaults are not reported to law enforcement.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (#SAAPM) and the message for survivors of sexual violence in 2018 is Embrace Your Voice. One of the ways to show support for #SAAPM is to learn more about sexual violence, such as what is detailed in our previous post: Sexual Abuse and the Culture of SilenceOther ways to show support this month include wearing a teal ribbon, utilizing the #SAAMP hashtag, or following any of the other suggestions available via the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) website

Embrace your voice this April, and every day thereafter. If you are a survivor of sexual violence and you are seeking support to find and embrace your voice, resources are available to help.

National Sexual Assault Hotline:
1-800-656-HOPE(4673)
RAINN:
https://www.rainn.org/
National Sexual Violence Resource Center:
https://www.nsvrc.org/

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 provided by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
AVRC is non-discriminatory agency regarding race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation or economic condition.

 

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

AVRC Services Spotlight: Peer & Group Counseling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AVRC Services Spotlight: Crisis Intervention

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

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

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

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