Welcome to AVA's online website. 

The mission of AVA is to empower those victimized by abuse and/or violence through advocacy and crisis intervention and to raise awareness in the community about the cause, impact, and prevention of relationship abuse, sexual violence, bullying, and child abuse and neglect. 
The Family Advocacy Program supports and promotes volunteer advocacy to protect the best interests of children in the Child Welfare System in Humboldt and Lander Counties in Nevada.

Don't be a victim, become a survivor!

In a first-ever collaboration of its kind in Nevada, AVA and the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) have entered into a collaborative agreement to establish the Family Advocacy Program for Humboldt and Lander Counties!

The Family Advocacy Program is to enable AVA to provide volunteers as requested by DCFS to assist in providing an array of services to support youths and families who are involved in the Child Welfare System.
Want to help make a difference in a child’s life? Help victims become survivors? Be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves? We need you!
The Family Advocacy Program is to enable AVA to provide volunteers as requested by DCFS to assist in providing an array of services to support youths and families who are involved in the Child Welfare System.
Want to help make a difference in a child’s life? Help victims become survivors? Be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves? We need you!
The Family Advocacy Program is to enable AVA to provide volunteers as requested by DCFS to assist in providing an array of services to support youths and families who are involved in the Child Welfare System.

Want to help make a difference in a child’s life? Help victims become survivors? Be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves? We need you!

Seeking male and female volunteers in all areas: from crisis intervention, advocacy, board members (4 hours a year minimum commitment), outreach awareness, writing, etc. For some, you don't even need to be local- only a desire to help and Care!  Training is done locally and much of it is done when you can fit it into your schedule.  Hours are flexible!

To be eligible, volunteers must be:

• Age 21 or over (depending on type of volunteering sought. Please see below for examples. Other AVA programs accepts volunteers 13 or older).
• Submit to state and federal background checks, Central Registry Screening for Child Abuse, and fingerprinting.
• Must not have been convicted of a DUI in the past 5 years or fined for used of a cellular or mobile device while driving within the past 3 years.
• Must adhere to strict confidentiality rules and laws and follow all mandatory reporting requirements for Nevada.
• 3 references (must not be related to you).
• Must be able to effectively communicate via written and oral communication, be familiar with email and basic computer skills.
• 25 hours of pre-service training is required, some of which can be done via independent study. 12 hours training annually is required. Some recent training in the required areas may be used for pre-service training hours. Proof of training must be provided.
• Volunteer schedule is extremely flexible- YOU tell US when you can volunteer and what type of volunteering you feel comfortable with! A minimum of 3 hours a month is requested.

If someone would like to volunteer but does not meet all these requirements, it does not automatically exclude you from volunteering! There is an array of volunteering that may be done with AVA. In order to work with clients as a Family and Youth Advocate, all the above standards must be met, with the exception of our Teen Crisis Program, where age requirements are 13 and older.
Other ways to volunteer is to assist with outreach awareness, grant writing, social media and other forms of public relations, crisis intervention, bullying and bystander intervention, teen advocacy, fundraising, administrative assistance. Volunteers fluent in Spanish are very much needed!

Applications can be found on our website at
www.Humboldtava.com or we can email one to you (our email is Humboldtava@sbcglobal.net).

Help make a difference in a life!
Remember: there's no such thing as "too little help"! Even an hour a month can help make a world of difference!

 For current news and how to get involved, please click on the "News" and other links on the right.

Advocates for Victims of Abuse (AVA) for the prevention, education, and advocacy against relationship abuse, sexual violence, bullying, and child abuse and neglect in Humboldt County, Winnemucca, NV.

We collaborate with community agencies and organizations to raise awareness and education about relationship abuse and sexual violence, prevention, and what to do in case of a sexual assault. We also provide referrals and resources to local and statewide agencies and programs that can assist the survivors of relationship abuse and sexual violence and their loved ones affected by the trauma.

We provide on-call advocacy for relationship abuse and sexual assault support services, with trained advocates in crisis intervention and support services.

The mission of AVA is to empower those victimized by abuse and/or violence through advocacy and crisis intervention and to raise awareness in the community about the cause, impact, and prevention of relationship abuse, sexual violence, child abuse and neglect, and bullying.
The Family Advocacy Program supports and promotes volunteer advocacy to protect the best interests of children in the Child Welfare System in Humboldt and Lander Counties in Nevada.

Don't be a victim, become a survivor!

Contact Information:
Mailing Address: 
Humboldt AVA
P.O. Box 1338
Winnemucca, NV 89446
Phone: 775-623-2328, 775-304-8964
E-Mail: humboldtava@sbcglobal.net
Website: http://www.humboldtava.com/

Nevada Sex Offender Registry Search


Back To School Safety

Back to School Safety

It’s that time of year again:  Kids walking to and from school, school buses making their routes, parents and guardians dropping off and picking up kids… Every year we prepare for safety but sometimes accidents and incidents will still occur.  Here are a few tips for parents and youths to stay safe.

For Parents and Other Adults:  If you’re dropping of a youth, remember:  More kids are hit by schools more than any other location according to the National Safe Routes to School Program.  Schools often have very specific drop-off procedures for the school year. Make sure you know them for the safety of all kids.
·         Don't double park; it blocks visibility for other children and vehicles
·         Don't load or unload children across the street from the school
·         Be watchful around schools and bus stops for children running into the street.
·         Watch for children entering the street from behind buses or running to catch the bus.
·         When driving your children to school, deliver and pick them up as close to the school as possible. Don't leave until they are safely on school grounds.
·         Drive slowly when approaching children riding bicycles and walking near the street.
·         Watch your speed when entering school zones.
·         Never pass a bus from behind – or from either direction if you're on an undivided road – if it is stopped to load or unload children
·         If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop
·         The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus
·         Be alert; children often are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks
·         When passing a bicyclist, proceed in the same direction slowly, and leave 3 feet between your car and the cyclist
·         When turning left and a bicyclist is approaching in the opposite direction, wait for the rider to pass
·         If you're turning right and a bicyclists is approaching from behind on the right, let the rider go through the intersection first, and always use your turn signals
·         Watch for bike riders turning in front of you without looking or signaling; children especially have a tendency to do this
·         Watch for bikes coming from driveways or behind parked cars
·         Check side mirrors before opening your door

When walking:
·         Pay special attention to all traffic signals and crossing guards.
·         Never cross the street against a red light, even if you don't see any traffic coming.
·         Wear reflective clothing and bright colors so drivers can see you easier.
·         Plan a safe walking route to school or the bus stop. Choose the most direct way with the fewest street crossings and if possible, with intersections that have traffic controls.
·         If in a new neighborhood or first time walking to school, walk with your child the route to take, paying attention to “markers” that will remind the child they are on the right route (i.e. a lawn decoration or color of a house) and to avoid crossing empty lots, construction areas, and parks where there aren't many people. Encourage kids to walk to school or the bus stop with a sibling or friend, and wait at bus stops with other children.
·         Advise children to arrive early for buses, stay out of the street, and to wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before approaching the street.
·         Keep your phone down! Watch where you’re walking and pay attention to traffic!

Riding a bike:
·         Wear light or bright color clothes when riding.
·         Always wear your helmet when you're riding.
·         Ride with a friend or your parents.
·         Have a headlight and reflectors on your bike.
·         Learn and obey the traffic rules.

Traveling by School Bus:

  • Never step off the curb until the bus comes to a complete stop.
  • Always use the seat belt if the bus if equipped with them.
  • Do not move around in the bus. Stay sitting in your seat.
  • When leaving the school bus stay in view of the driver and always cross the street in front of the bus.
  • Even though traffic should stop for a school bus, always check both ways before crossing the street.
Know your safety rules!
Parents: Always keep up-to-date information about your child (height, weight) and recent pictures.
Any route you take and any neighborhood you live in, make sure you use the Nevada Sex Offender Registry to know of registered offenders in your area.

Nevada Sex Offender Registry Search Website:

Download the AlertID phone app.  AlertID is the free national online and mobile service, which helps to reduce crime while providing a safe way for people to receive and share trusted public safety alerts and information.  Download theMcGruff phone app (powered by AlertID) and enroll for a free membership. Once enrolled, members are able to view an interactive map displaying crimes and sex offenders in their neighborhoods. You’ll receive alerts and information via email or mobile device for multiple locations such as their homes, schools, offices, or current locations.

After signing up, members then have the ability to receive law enforcement emergency alerts, crime and sex offender alerts, prevention tips, and much more. It also includes a virtual neighborhood watch where members can share photos and information regarding suspicious activity with neighbors, police, and even Homeland Security.

Talk to your children about their day. Ask your children if they see anyone bullied, if they are bullied, or if anything else makes them feel uncomfortable. Look for warning signs of bullying, such as a sudden drop in grades, loss of friends, or torn clothing.

If you see something that is suspicious in your neighborhood, report it to local law enforcement and post information and updates to your neighbors on AlertID to help reduce crime.

Keep an eye on your children's Internet use! Talk to your children about what they do online - what sites they visit, who they email, and who they chat with. Encourage them to speak up if something makes them uncomfortable, or if they witness forms of cyberbullying, such as threats or harassment.

Elderly Abuse: Recognizing, Reporting, and Getting Help

Elderly Abuse: Recognizing, Reporting, and Getting Help

Too often, the topic of elder abuse is ignored.  Locally, our organization receives requests for assistance at least once a month.  Many elderly adults are abused in their own homes, in relatives’ homes, and even in facilities responsible for their care. If you suspect an elderly person is at risk from a neglectful or overwhelmed caregiver, or being preyed upon financially, it’s important to speak up. Learn about the warning signs of elder abuse, what the risk factors are, and how you can prevent and report the problem.

As elders become more physically frail, they’re less able to stand up to bullying and or fight back if attacked. They may not see or hear as well or think as clearly as they used to, leaving openings for deceitful people to take advantage of them. 

Each year hundreds of thousands of older persons are abused, neglected, and exploited. Many victims are people who are older, frail, and vulnerable and cannot help themselves and depend on others to meet most basic needs. Abusers of older adults are both women and men, and may be family members, friends, or “trusted others.”  In the
U.S. alone, more than half a million reports of abuse against elderly Americans reach authorities every year, and millions more cases go unreported.

In general, elder abuse is a term referring to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult. Legislatures in all 50 states have some form of elder abuse prevention laws.

Physical Abuse—use of force against an elderly person that result in physical pain, injury, or impairment. Such abuse includes not only physical assaults such as hitting or shoving but the inappropriate use of drugs, restraints, or confinement.
Sexual Abuse—non-consensual sexual contact of any kind.
Neglect—the failure by those responsible to provide food, shelter, health care, or protection for a vulnerable elder.
·    Exploitation—the illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of a senior for someone else's benefit.

      Emotional Abuse— Verbal forms of emotional elder abuse include
·                     Intimidation through yelling or threats
·                     Humiliation and ridicule
·                     Habitual blaming or scapegoating

 Nonverbal psychological elder abuse takes the form of:
·                     Ignoring the elderly person
·                     Isolating an elder from friends or activities
·                     Terrorizing or menacing the elderly person
·                     Abandonment—desertion of a vulnerable elder by anyone who has assumed the responsibility for care or custody of that person.
·                     Self-neglect—characterized as the failure of a person to perform essential, self-care tasks   and that such failure threatens his/her own health or safety.

Healthcare fraud and abuse
·                     Not providing healthcare, but charging for it
·                     Overcharging or double-billing for medical care or services
·                     Getting kickbacks for referrals to other providers or for prescribing certain drugs
·                     Overmedicating or under-medicating

While one sign does not necessarily indicate abuse, some signs that there could be a problem are:

·       Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, and burns may be an indication of physical abuse, neglect, or mistreatment.

·       Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness, and unusual depression.

·       Bruises around breasts or genital area indicate sexual abuse.

·       Sudden changes in finances may be the result of exploitation.

·       Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, and unusual weight loss are signs of possible neglect.

·       Behavior such as belittling, threats and other uses of power and control.

·       Strained or tense relationships, frequent arguments between the caregiver and elderly person.

Some signs may emerge as symptoms of dementia or signs of the person’s frailty - or caregivers may explain them to you that way. Some of the signs and symptoms of elder abuse do overlap with symptoms of mental deterioration, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss them on the caregiver’s say-so. Most importantly, be alert. The suffering is often in silence. If you notice changes in a senior’s personality or behavior, you should start to question what is going on.

Older adults can take these steps to prevent abuse:
·                     Be socially active and avoid spending too much time alone. Being cut off from other people can put you at a higher risk of abuse. Keep in touch with family and friends.
·                     If you are not happy with the care you are getting in your home, speak up. You have a right to change. This applies to all caregivers — even family.
·                     If you live in a long-term care facility and are not happy with your care, speak up. If you do not have family members who can help, contact your state's Long-Term Care Ombudsman.(in Nevada: http://www.nvaging.net/ltc.htm
·                     Plan for your own financial future with a trusted person or persons. Make sure that your finances are in order. It's also important to tell family, caregivers, and doctors your health care wishes.

What family members and friends can do:
·                     Watching for warning signs that might signal abuse (bruising, soreness, agitation, fear, refusal to speak).
·                     Making sure that the older adult is eating properly and taking required medications. A weakened older adult may not be able to think clearly about the care being given.
·                     Gaining trust so that the older adult allows you more oversight in financial and caretaking matters.
·                     Scanning bank accounts and credit card statements for unauthorized transactions.
·                     Calling and visiting as often as you are able. Keep in contact.

To report suspected elder abuse, neglect, exploitation, isolation, and/or complaints to the Nevada Long Term Care Ombudsman Program please utilize these phone numbers:
Las Vegas/Clark County               (702) 486-6930
 Statewide/All other areas             (888) 729-057
 Eldercare Locator website or calling 1-800-677-1116.
If an older person is in immediate danger,911 service should be contacted as soon as possible.
If you have been the victim of abuse, exploitation, or neglect, you are not alone. Many people care and can help. Please tell your doctor, a friend, or a family member you trust, or call the Eldercare Locator help line immediately. You can reach the Eldercare Locator by telephone at 1-800-677-1116. Specially trained operators will refer you to a local agency that can help. The Eldercare Locator is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time.
Any person may report an incident of abuse if they have reasonable cause to believe that an elderly person has been abused, neglected, exploited, or isolated. All information received as a result of a report is maintained as confidential.
Mandatory reporters must make the report immediately after the event, but no later than 24 hours after there is reason to believe that an elderly person has been abused, neglected, exploited, or isolated.

PTSD Awareness

PTSD Awareness

By: Sarah Reno Baker

“Even in times of trauma, we try to maintain a sense of normality until we no longer can. That, my friends, is called surviving. Not healing. We never become whole again… we are survivors. If you are here today… you are a survivor. But those of us who have made it thru hell and are still standing?  We bare a different name: warriors.” ~Lori Goodwin
What people with posttraumatic stress disorder (PSTD) need are love, compassion, understanding, and patience. They do not want pity or to be deemed unfit in society.
National PTSD Awareness Day is June 27th and June is PTSD Awareness month. The national awareness day was designated by the United States Senate to bring greater awareness to the issue of PTSD as the awareness month was designated by the National Center for PTSD.
A mental health problem, PTSD may occur after an individual has been exposed to a single or multiple traumatic events. According to the National Institutes of Health risk factors that increase a person’s risk for PTSD are, getting hurt, exposure to another individual being hurt, or seeing a dead body. Other factors can include living through traumas and dangerous events, childhood trauma, or feelings of helplessness. The lack of support after a traumatic event can further increase the risk of PTSD. Any added stress from pain and injury, the loss of one’s home or job, and the added loss of a loved one can also increase the risk. Understanding PTSD is comprehending that anyone that goes through natural disasters such as an earthquake or tornado, a car wreck, terrorist attack, sexual or physical assault, childhood physical or sexual abuse, and combat exposure all contribute to the risk of PTSD.
I had the opportunity to briefly interview two people with two very different traumatic experiences and am both diagnosed with PTSD. The first interviewee is a veteran of war where many people he was close to lost their lives. The second interviewee was victim of sexual assault in her early pre-teen years. Ironically, both individuals were diagnosed only a short five years ago.  This is their story of how they cope with PTSD:
Initial treatments for both individuals were similar.  The veteran of war was removed from combat, was seen by a therapist, and given antidepressants. Eventually leaving the military and not taking the medicine, the veteran of war had good support. The interviewee expressed that his good network of supporters kept him from going over the deep end.  He tried counseling once again, but felt like he was not going anywhere and stopped. He now has a couple of people he confides in when he needs to express himself and says that is all he needs. He stays busy at work and says that it is a lot easier this way. On days off he keeps busy by participating in martial arts, working out, and hanging with a friends or family.  When those situations are not possible, he keeps his hands and mind busy focusing on projects. He states he has always been a quiet person, but this experience has made him more reserved and less social. He is uncomfortable with crowds and fireworks scare him.  He often feels like he would like to be left alone and in his comfort zone with his close knit friends and family. “There is not a whole lot people can do; you can’t just make those memories go away”. He is uncomfortable with the thought of people knowing he has PTSD; he does not want pity, and does not want to be looked at different.  What this amazing veteran of war says is that all people can do is be understanding.
The second interviewee and victim of sexual assault were treated for her PTSD in the past five years through cognitive behavioral therapy and talk therapy. She was not treated when the traumatic experience took place, but now recognizes she dealt with other problems. “The physical problems consist of sensitivity sexually, and relationship problems consist of mistrust of men”. Through her more recent therapy sessions she learned healthy ways to address her triggers and fears. This survivor had to address a trigger when her perpetrator was released from prison and lived only a mile away from her current residence. She is a strong advocate for anyone who suffers from PTSD, the stand for awareness, legal rights, resilience, and prevention. “It is a lifelong process to be a victim of violent sexual assault; especially when it occurred at a pre-teen age. I understand that I am a survivor now and not a victim still; however, the emotions of fear, pain, hurt, anger, psychological triggers, nightmares, flashbacks, and fear/anger when seeing my perpetrator; and physical problems and relationship problems are a constant effort to work on.”
Just as every person is unique, what people experience with PTSD is also unique. They are survivors and warriors in their personal story, and I am thankful they felt they could share their stories to bring awareness to others.
If you or someone you know is dealing with PTSD, there are resources available. The following sites have a wealth of information that a person can benefit from:
National Institutes of Health

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

National Center for PTSD

This column is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or psychological advice or treatment.

May is National Foster Care Month

May is National Foster Care Month

By Sarah Reno Baker

“There are no unwanted children, just unfound families.” ~ Sevenly.org

Every child deserves a home.  We hear of the wonderful success stories of children in our community and all over the world.  What about the children who no longer have a home?  Foster care is a crucial step to get kids what they deserve when pulled from their parents, homes, and crises.  Foster care helps build a foundation for our children when life is tough so that they can later be successful in their adult lives.
On September 30th, 2014, approximately 400,000 children were in foster care. In the United States a child enters into the foster care system every two minutes. The sex of the foster care children for the approximate 400,000 is fairly even.  The male population is 52% and the female population is 48%. The greatest percentage is with the age group of 5 years and younger at 39%. 6 to 10 year olds, 23%. 11 to 15 year olds, 22%, and 16 to 20 years of age, 16%. The white race is the highest percentage at 42% followed by Black or African American at 24%.  Other races that contribute to percentages are Hispanics 22%, American Indian/Alaskan Native 2%, Asian 1%, Unknown and unable to determine 3%, and two or more races 7%. The breakdown to where foster care children are currently living follows. Foster-Family Homes (Non-relatives) is the highest at 46%.  The second highest is the Foster-Family Home of relatives at 29%. pre-adoptive home 4%, group home 6%, institution 8%, supervised independent living 1%, runaway 1%, and trial home visit 5%.  Clearly, one can see the need for Foster care in communities throughout the United States.

Care Skills needed for being a Foster Parent
First, know your family and your home life. Taking the role of a foster-care family is a big deal, take your time before you make the decision. Each state has different guidelines, so it is necessary to become familiar with your state regulations, and who can and cannot be a foster parent. A person must have the ability to have compassion, the ability to let go, and patience, among numerous other skills. All members of the family should be included in the decision making to become a foster-care family. Second, learning how to be an effective communicator.  Being a foster parent will put you in touch with many different people.  Communication will happen with social workers, teachers, therapists, the birth family, judges, other foster family, your friends and family, and the child. Third, understand that at times, being a foster parent can and will be challenging. Be prepared when your foster child arrives and establish your role as a foster parent. Ask yourself which age, gender, and behavior would be most appropriate for you and your family.  Understand the challenges involved with becoming a foster parent by education on the topic.  Fourth, managing behaviors of challenging children.  It is critical the prospective foster parent understand what can and cannot happen pertaining to discipline to a foster child.  Corporal punishment is not permitted in foster care. “Remember that your job as a foster parent is to build an attachment with the foster child and physical discipline may destroy the bond that you are trying to create.” Fifth, comprehension of the child’s losses is essential, as well as the foster family. We can understand how to meet the needs of the children if we understand the grieving process ourselves.  Considerations for children include, but are not limited to losing their home, trauma, losing their family, abuse, the children’s ages, and the support in which they are subjected to. Finally, a skill needed for foster parenting is to know how to work with others and be a team player.  After all, it is the child that matters and it takes a team of people to get the care needed. As a foster parent you are an advocate for the child, be the best you can be.

If you would like to be an advocate for a child in our community that needs your help and learn more about becoming a foster parent, please contact Humboldt AVA today.

This column is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or psychological advice or treatment.