Sunday, July 19, 2009

Helping children learn and practice safe behavior

Jessica L Szabo

Silver Pinyon Journal

16 July 2009



Earlier this month, the community group Humboldt CAASA (Community Advocates Against Sexual Assault) taught children’s safety classes through Great Basin College’s Kids’ College. These classes, and others like them, are valuable resources for children and parents but the lessons cannot be allowed to fade from memory once the formal lessons end.



“Children should be taught that safety is more important than manners. If they find themselves in a threatening situation, it is more important to get out of the situation than to be polite. Children should be taught how to stay safe when alone, out with friends, and even online or when using cell phones,” said CAASA Coordinator and Advocate Billie Wirthlin.



“Enforcing the safety behaviors is the best way to keep them in place,” added CAASA Coordinator and Advocate Chelle Robinson. “Most kids know that bad things can happen. They usually will say it just won't happen to them. If they don't understand the precautions, take the time to explain why you're having them do what they're doing. Different methods work for different children. Some children are more inclined to follow them when there is punishment for safety rules broken. For others, they may understand the need for safety and follow them. Starting safety behavior early is best, as it will become second nature as they grow older.”



CAASA members stressed the importance of teaching children and teens that safety procedures are important no matter where they live, or how comfortable they are in a situation.



“People in urban areas tend to be more cautious. However, simply telling your children not to talk to strangers does not give them all the information they need. Kids need to know the difference between the guy they see on the corner by the laundromat every day and the new school bus driver whom they've never met before,” Wirthlin advised. “Parents tend to feel safer in rural areas and will often let their guard down. It's more common to see children in rural areas roaming the neighborhood without supervision, playing in a stranger's backyard or going door-to-door for their school fundraiser - walking right into homes and knocking on stranger's doors. How many parents think to check the sex offender registry online before sending their kids out to trick-or-treat or sell stuff for their school or organization?” she asked.



Many children will follow safety procedures when they are alone or with a family member, but disregard safety rules with friends to avoid seeming like an outcast in their group. Robinson suggests speaking to the parents of the child’s friends, encouraging your child to stick to safe behavior as a role model for his or her peers, and including the child’s friends in safety classes and presentations, with the permission of each child’s parent or guardian. She advises parents to avoid simply telling their child that their friend is just a bad influence.



“We all know that often telling a child their friends are a bad influence usually just makes them hang around them more,” she pointed out.



In some situations, it isn’t a child refusing to obey safety guidelines or a child’s social circle encouraging unsafe habits, but another adult in the child’s life who simply does not take safety guidelines seriously. Perhaps the child’s babysitter allows them to answer the phone and tell callers their parents are not home, or a neighbor simply says, “I’m here to see your mom,” instead of stating their name when they knock at the door.



Robinson recommends speaking directly to the person, and explaining that the behavior they are encouraging is unsafe.



“Teaching safety is not just the parents' responsibility, it's the community’s as well,” she said. “Never think it's none of your business, because who wants to look back and in hindsight think ‘if I had only said something they wouldn't have gotten hurt’.”



“It only takes one incident to change your lives forever; a visiting stranger in a small town or getting too close to a sex offenders neighborhood. It's impossible to know what some people are capable of,” Wirthlin added. “We see this every day on the news; kids in small towns taken by someone no one ever expected to be capable of such a crime or "city kids" who have found themselves in a situation they just couldn't get out of. It is important, no matter where you live, to stay alert and be prepared, to teach are kids how to get out of a dangerous situation and how to avoid these situations all together. “
Some basic child safety guidelines: a review for parents



Jessica L Szabo

Silver Pinyon Journal

16 July 2009



Teach children to never walk into a stranger’s house alone or with other children

You may live in a relatively safe neighborhood or building, or in a town where you feel like “everybody knows everybody else,” but you do not literally know every person who lives around you. The house your child walks in to could belong to someone perfectly safe for them to be around, or it could belong to a very dangerous person who would harm the child. A pretty house or yard, nice cars, or bumper stickers and yard signs indicating the person shares your religious or political beliefs are not guarantees that the person is safe to be around.



Make sure children understand and follow specific safety rules

The difference between the child’s new school bus driver and a stranger they regularly see at the corner Laundromat or in the lobby of their apartment building may be glaringly obvious to an adult, but a young child may not understand why they aren’t allowed to accept rides from an adult they see around but don’t know, but are allowed to get on the school bus when there’s a new driver or a substitute. Some children even refuse to speak to a security guard or store clerk when they get lost because they’ve been told “don’t talk to strangers” with no further information. Explain each situation to them, answer their questions, and be clear about which behaviors are safe and which are unsafe.



Don’t allow other adults to teach your children unsafe behaviors

The neighbor who insists that your child open the door without providing his or her name or the friend who gets annoyed when the child says, “He can’t come to the phone right now,” instead of the very unsafe, “My Dad isn’t home,” needs to be reminded that you are trying to teach your child safe habits, and that all adults in his or her life need to encourage him or her to practice these habits until they become second nature. If your friend simply cannot wait for you to return their call, or the neighbor thinks it’s rude that your child demands to know who is at the door, they can stop calling your home phone line or stopping by unannounced. A child’s safety comes before an adult’s mild inconvenience



Be mindful of your own behavior

Repeating “never let anyone you don’t know into the house” is going to have less of an impact if the child sees you inviting anyone who stops by for any reason in to your living room. Allow your child to see you walking out on to the porch to speak to sales people or political campaign workers, ask for identification from service people you don’t know, and refusing rides from strangers.


http://silverpinyon.homestead.com/SPJMentalHealth.html

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

CAASA Update and THANKS TO ALL OF YOU!!

The members of CAASA - Community Advocates Against Sexual Assault - would like to thank the community for it's continued support in our mission to empower those victimized by sexual violence through advocacy and crisis intervention and to raise awareness in the community about the cause, impact and prevention of sexual assault. CAASA was implemented only in early 2008 and we have had so much community, and statewide, support that we continue to add more programs and services to our organization and would like to take this opporutnity to update everyone on what we do.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with CAASA, we offer 24/7 advocacy: free and confidential. Trained community advocates are available to help survivors and secondary survivors thorugh the trauma. Advocates are trained in crisis intervention, legal and ethical issues regarding sexual violence and domestic violence and mandatory reporting. As community advocates, we help people who want to report a crime to do so, but the choice is always the individuals (in compliance with the Nevada mandatory reporting laws as all advocates are mandatory reporters), we assist with obtaining protection orders, as well as financial costs that can be incurred as a result of the trauma. Our community advocates are also trained in Sexual Assault Counseling, Rape Trauma Syndrome and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, and programs and services available to clients and how to apply for them. We also have volunteers that assist in areas of education and awareness, such as helping with special events and awareness programs. Volunteers in any of these areas are always welcome.

We offer a FREE program, Girls Fight Back!, and a FREE self-defense class,in cooperation with Montenegro School of TaeKwon Do, to the community for empowerment, awareness and safety for females of all ages and younger males. To find out more about Girls Fight Back!, their website is www.girlsfightback.com or call us for more information. While we do occasional public viewings, we are happy to arrange a special viewing to any group or organization at your business or home, free of charge.
Classes with ther Montenegro School of TaeKwon Do are offered for beginners and advanced classes, contact CAASA or the Montenegro School of TaeKwon Do for more information on when the classes are held.

CAASA has a free, safe, and confidential monthly support group for secondary survivors to come and talk, listen, and find support among their peers. After receiving numerous questions and requests for information and assistance for secondary survivors, it became apparent to us at CAASA that there is a need for a place where secondary survivors could find support to know they are not alone. Contact for more information or to attend the next meeting.

We get a lot of questions and comments about the logo we chose to represent CAASA. The logo is an Irish/Welsh/Celtic symbol called a Triquetra. It has been a symbol used all over the world. It has been used in different religions all over, such as Christianity, to represent the Holy Trinity, among other religions all over the world. The triquetra has been used in artwork, in medicine, and even for entertainment reasons in fictional television shows and movies.

Triquetra is a word derived from the Latin tri- ("three") and quetrus ("cornered"). Its original meaning was simply "triangle" and it has been used to refer to various three-cornered shapes. Sometimes there is a circle in the middle, which represents unity or community. Many community organizations and agencies all over the world have chosen it for their symbol because it can accurately convey their organizations purpose.

As our organization, CAASA, has three main areas: education, prevention, and advocacy- all to unify our community against sexual violence. Therefore, we chose the triquetra symbol to represent what we stand for: advocacy, prevention, education- unified against sexual violence.

While we respect each individual's religious choices and views, CAASA itself is not affiliated with any religion. At times, we may refer our clients who are unfamiliar with our community to a local church or religious organization, if they request that information and want it to help them recover and heal from the trauma they have received.

CAASA works with many agencies and organizations in Winnemucca and around the state. We refer clients to any organization which can also offer them assistance. Winnemucca is a wonderful and unique community where so many of us work together to help others, we would like to see that continued, so we feel the circle in our triquetra is especially fitting for "community".

For more information on CAASA, upcoming events, or to request help please contact us at the following numbers: 775-623-2328, 775-623-2312, fax- 623- 3251. We can also be reached online: E-Mail Address humboldtcaasa@sbcglobal.net, www.myspace.com/humboldtcaasa, www.facebook.com/humboldtcaasa or our mailing address is P.O. Box 1338, Winnemucca, NV 89446.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Nevada Crime Victims' Bill of Rights

Nevada Victims’ Bill of Rights

The 1983 Nevada Legislature mandated certain rights and guarantees to crime victims and witnesses. Accordingly, Chapter 178 of the Nevada Revised Statutes recognizes the following needs and rights of crime victims.

You have the right:
• To know the status of the case in which you are involved
• To be free from intimidation or dissuasion
• To know when your impounded property may be released.
• To receive a witness fee for lawful obedience to a subpoena.
• To understand the existing victim compensation laws and receive compensation if applicable.
• To a secure waiting area, which is not available to the defendant or his family, when you are at court.
• To know when the defendant is released from custody before or during trial (upon written request).
• To know when the offender is released from prison (upon written request).

General Rights of Victims' of Crime in Nevada
To know the status of the case in which you are involved.

To be free from intimidation or dissuasion.

To know when your impounded property may be released.

To receive a witness fee for lawful obedience to a subpoena.

To understand the existing victim compensation laws and receive compensation if applicable.

To a secure waiting area, which is not available to the defendant or his family, when you are at court.

To know when the defendant is released from custody before or during trial (upon written request).

To know when the offender is released from prison (upon written request).

Your Right to Be Heard at Sentencing
The Legislature is charged with making laws providing that the victim of a crime, personally or through a representative, shall be:
Informed, upon written request, of the status or disposition of a criminal proceeding at any stage of the proceeding.

Allowed to be present at all public hearings involving the critical stages of a criminal proceeding.

Allowed to be heard at all proceedings for the sentencing or release of a convicted person after trial.

Before imposing sentence, the court shall afford the victim an opportunity to appear personally, by counsel or by a personal representative and reasonably express any views concerning the crime, the person responsible, and the impact of the crime on the victim and the need for restitution.
Additionally, the prosecutor must give reasonable notice of the sentencing hearing to the person against whom the crime was committed; a person who was injured as a direct result of the crime; the surviving spouse, parents or children of a person who was killed as a direct result of the crime; and any other relative or victim who requests in writing to be notified of the hearing.

Restitution
The court can order restitution against a defendant who is found guilty. Acceptable restitution includes direct costs to pay for medical bills, property damage and unrecovered stolen property.
In order for the court to order the defendant to make restitution, you must provide your prosecutor with copies of your bills and/or estimates for replacement or repair.

If the crime is a gross misdemeanor or felony, you should also provide those documents to the parole and probation officer who is doing the pre-sentence report.


Other Compensation
The State of Nevada has a program to compensate victims of violent crime. The compensation may be awarded for medical bills, psychological counseling, lost wages, funeral and burial expenses. You cannot be compensated for property loss, legal fees, phone bills, living expenses or pain and suffering.
For a victim of a sexual offense, there are other assistance programs. Counties are responsible for payment of sexual offense examinations and medical care for any physical injuries resulting from the offense within 72 hours after the victim arrives for treatment. Additionally, the county can pay up to $1000 for counseling costs. Contact your prosecutor if you have any questions regarding this provision. (NRS 449.244; 217.290; 217.480)


Other Rights
(NRS 176.630) - Provides a hearing to revoke probation and modify a defendant's sentence, and that the Division of Parole and Probation must notify the victim of the proposed changes and the victim has the right to be heard at the hearing. The victim must request such notification, in writing to the Department of Parole and Probation.
(NRS 176.5698) - Provides that, upon written request of the victim, the prosecutor, sheriff or chief of police shall inform the victim of:

When the defendant is released from custody at any time before or during trial.

The amount of bail for release of the defendant.

The final disposition of the case in which he was directly involved

If the defendant has been convicted of a sexual offense or a crime of threatened or actual use of violence against the victim, the court shall provide to each victim or witness certain forms and documentation outlining rights (contact your prosecutor for specifics regarding this section).

http://crime.about.com/od/victims/qt/victims_nv.htm

It is still sexual assault: community group addresses sexual assault within marriage

It is still sexual assault: community group addresses sexual assault within marriage



Jessica L Szabo

Silver Pinyon Journal

2 July 2009



There are many myths surrounding sexual assault and one of the most pervasive myths states that sexual assault cannot occur within a married couple or in a committed romantic relationship.



Dawn Swanson, Co-Coordinator and Advocate for CAASA (Community Advocates Against Sexual Assault), noted that this myth is widespread in the community her group serves. ”Sexual violence happens all the time in relationships and from what we've seen it's common here (Winnemucca, Nev) as well,” she said. “Many of the women that come forward for help with domestic violence report having been raped by their partners. A lot of women, and men, do not realize it is sexual assault, even when you're in a relationship with them.”



CAASA and other groups working to fight against sexual assault stress this myth is completely untrue. “Any time a person does not consent to sex or sex acts, it is sexual assault,” Swanson stressed. “It is also not unusual to think that that it is not rape if you have been with the person before in a consensual relationship. I think that some women have a false belief that just because a consensual act happened in the past that past act makes any future acts okay.”



Physical force does not have to be present in order for a sexual assault to occur. Engaging in sexual activity with someone who is too drunk to fully understand what they are doing, drugged, or afraid or unable to say “no” for any reason is also sexual assault, regardless of the relationship that previously existed between the perpetrator and the victim.



There is a related myth which states that it is not sexual assault if the forced activity did not include intercourse. However, any sexual activity that occurs without the consent of everyone involved is sexual assault, even if some or all of the people involved are married or in a relationship. This can include touching, fondling, forcing another person to view sexually explicit or pornographic material, or allowing another person to view the spouse or partner in a sexual or other private situation without their knowledge or consent.



Many people are understandably embarrassed to openly discuss such situations with friends or relatives, but Swanson urged anyone who thinks a friend may be the victim of sexual assault perpetrated by a spouse or other romantic partner to reach out to the person.



“Talk to your friend and be there for her, or him. Let them know there are local resources available, help her or him see that it is not acceptable for anyone to force themselves on anyone else. Help them to understand that it is sexual violence and that they do not have to accept it because they are in a relationship with the person,” Swanson concluded.







For more information concerning sexual assault:

Community Advocates Against Sexual Assault:

P.O. Box 1338

Winnemucca, NV 89446

623-2328, 623-2312

Websites: www.myspace.com/humboldtcaasa and www.facebook.com/humboldtcaasa





For assistance in Northern Nevada:

Victim-Witness Center in Reno:

775-328-3210 or 888-333-6076



To reach a national organization:



RAINN (Rape Abuse and Incest National Network)

Website: www.rainn.org



Editor’s note: Each of the resources listed above is an independent resource. The appearance of an organization or group on a list with another organization or group does not indicate affiliation between the groups, or one group’s endorsement of another. Please contact each group individually to learn more about their affiliations, endorsements and the services they can provide.

http://silverpinyon.homestead.com/SPJMentalHealth.html

"What's that symbol mean?"

We've gotten this question often, so we thought we'd post a little about what the Triquetra is.

The symbol we use is Irish/Welsh/Celtic and is called a Triquetra. It has been a symbol used all over the world. It has been used in different religions all over, such as Christianity, to represent the Holy Trinity, among other religions all over the world.

The triquetra has been used in artwork, in medicine, and even for entertainment reasons in fictional television shows and movies.

Triquetra is a word derived from the Latin tri- ("three") and quetrus ("cornered"). Its original meaning was simply "triangle" and it has been used to refer to various three-cornered shapes. Sometimes there is a circle in the middle, which represents unity or community.

As our organization, CAASA, has three main areas: education, prevention, and advocacy- all to unify our community against sexual violence.

Therefore, we chose the triquetra symbol to represent what we stand for: advocacy, prevention, education- unified against sexual violence. Many community organizations and agencies all over the county have chosen it for their symbol because it can accurately convey their organizations purpose.

While we respect each individual's religious choices and views, CAASA itself is not affiliated with any religion. At times, we may refer our clients who are unfamiliar with our community to a local church or religious organization, if they request that information and want it to help them recover and heal from the trauma they have received.

CAASA works with many agencies and organizations in Winnemucca and around the state. We refer clients to any organization which can also offer them assistance. Winnemucca is a wonderful and unique community where so many of us work together to help others, we would like to see that continued, so we feel the circle in our triquetra is especially fitting for "community".


     
CAASA

Community Advocates Against Sexual Assault


P.O. Box 1338

Winnemucca, NV 89446

Contact Information:

775-623-2328, 775-623-2312,

E-Mail Address humboldtcaasa@sbcglobal.net

Website: www.myspace.com/humboldtcaasa and www.facebook.com/humboldt caasa

The mission of CAASA is to empower those victimized by sexual violence through advocacy and crisis intervention and to raise awareness in the community about the cause, impact, and prevention of sexual violence.



Don't be a victim, become a survivor!



Nevada Sex Offender Registry Search
http://www.nvsexoffenders.gov/Search.aspx