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, 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.
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.  

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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.
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.

 

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, 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.