Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Victims of Crime: There Is Help!

With crime rates increasing all over, Advocates for Victims of Abuse would like to remind everyone about a state program that can financially assist survivors and secondary survivors of crime.

One concern many survivors have is the financial costs related to the crime. The impact of a violence crime can be devastating to the survivors and secondary survivors, and the financial costs to recover can be tremendous. It is hard enough to deal with the emotional, psychological, and physical trauma of being victimized, without having to deal with the financial aspects as well. The trauma of a crime will often result in someone needing medical assistance, such as emergency room visit, hospital stay or doctors visits. Many survivors or secondary survivors find it helpful to see a counselor to cope with the trauma, which can be an expense many cannot afford. If a person has suffered from physical or emotional trauma as a result of violent or personal crime, they may be eligible for financial assistance from the state of Nevada.

The State of Nevada Victims of Crime Program (VOCP) can greatly assist any victims and/or their families. Nevada Revised Statute 217.010 states: “It is the policy of the State to provide assistance to persons who are victims of violent crimes or the dependents of victims of violent crimes”. Those who are eligible to receive compensation from VOCP must be a victim of a violent crime in Nevada, which resulted in physical injury, a threat of physical injury or death. The family members of a deceased victim of crime are also eligible. The crime should be reported to law enforcement within five days, unless the victim is physically or mentally unable to have filed within the five days. A VOCP application should be submitted within a year of the crime, or a reasonable amount of time if they are unable to file within that year. VOCP can help victims of crimes such as drunk driving, homicide, sex crimes, domestic violence, child abuse, elderly abuse, as well as assault and battery. Any minors who are victims of sexual violence or pornography have until the age of 21 to file a claim with VOCP.

VOCP can cover medical expenses, counseling and therapy, loss of wages due to the crime, funeral expenses, and damages done to a vehicle or home in the commission of the crime, emergency shelter, relocation costs, medication, and more. VOCP will not pay for lost or stolen property, cash, property damage, pain and suffering, or expenses that can be covered by insurance. VOCP will pay up to $35,000 to those who have been victimized by violent crime.

Many local agencies and organizations in Humboldt County and around the state are able to assist victims and families to complete an application for VOCP. However, any one can go onto the State of Nevada VOCP program themselves and read about the program, as well as print out an application and file it themselves. The website is: http://www.voc.NV.gov.

If someone has been the victim of a crime in another state, we encourage them to seek out that states Victim of Crime program. The National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards provides information on crime victim’s compensation boards across the United States which can be found at http://www.nacvcb.org or the Office for Victims of Crime at www.ojp.usdoj.gov

For further information on referrals and resources that can benefit survivors and secondary survivors of crime and personal victimization, please contact AVA.

Take A Stand! Don't Stand By!

Take a stand, don’t stand by!

Did you know that more than 160,000 U.S. students stay home from school each day from fear of being bullied? It’s not only a problem for youths. Adults are more likely to use verbal bullying as opposed to physical bullying, and the goal of an adult bully is to gain power over another person, and make himself or herself the dominant adult. They try to humiliate victims, and “show them who is boss.” People who are bullied find it difficult to concentrate, show a decline in grades, and lose self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-worth. hose who are bullied report more physical symptoms, such as headaches or stomachaches, and mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, than others.

Sadly, recent bullying statistics show that bullying is on the rise across all ages. The rise in bullying statistics is likely due to a sub-form of bullying seen in recent years called cyber bullying. Many bullying statistics and studies have found physical assaults have been replaced with cyber assaults in the form of bashing, rumors, and other content targeted at a single student or group of students to intentionally inflict harm.

Bullying Prevention and Facts:

• Many studies have shown that increasing domestic violence at home are leading to an increase in bullying online and at school.

• 58% of kids admit to never telling an adult when they've been the victim of a bullying attack.

• Bullying affects witnesses as well as targets. Witnesses often report feeling unsafe, helpless, and afraid that they will be the next target.

• Bullying is a communitywide issue that must no longer be ignored or thought of as a rite of passage. Students, parents, and educators all have a role in addressing bullying situations and changing school culture.

• The two keys to creating change are: increasing awareness that bullying has lifelong impact, and giving people the tools they need to respond effectively.

• Students can be especially effective in bullying intervention. More than 55 percent of bullying situations will stop when a peer intervenes. Student education of how to address bullying for peers is critical, as is the support of adults.

• Silence is no longer an acceptable response to bullying. Adults, students, and educators can no longer look away when they see bullying. Ignoring it won’t work. Everyone needs to be empowered with options to respond.

Based on the bullying statistics, it is clear that cyber bullying is on the rise more so than any other type of bullying. Many report seeing these types of bullying in chat rooms, social networking websites. Many students are forced to deal with at-school bullying and have it follow them home as they see hurtful comments and rumors being said about them throughout the Internet.

Again this year, the Advocates for Victims of Abuse has partnered with SASA (Students Advocating Social Awareness), and PACER Teens Against Bullying, to raise awareness across the country to STOP bullying now!

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. On October 12th, 201, join AVA in the movement to “Make it orange and make it end!” and unite against bullying. Make your color orange on Unity Day, Wednesday, Oct. 12. That’s the day everyone can join together: in schools, communities and online, and send a message of support to students who have experienced bullying. Students can unite against bullying on Unity Day by wearing the color orange, using the resources on PACER.org/bullying, handing out orange “UNITY” ribbons at school, or writing the word “UNITY” on their hands or binders.

Facebook is also partnering with PACER by posting information about PACER activities on its safety, educator, and privacy pages during October. Update your Facebook status to “UNITY DAY, October 12th— Join the movement to make it orange and make it end! If you are being bullied, you are not alone. Unite and be a champion against bullying! “Like” Unity Day on their Facebook page. Take a pledge and sign “The End of Bullying Begins With You” Petition at http://www.pacer.org/bullying/digitalpetition.

This is an opportunity for individuals, groups, communities to acknowledge that bullying is not something that should be accepted. Physical bruises fade, but the marks bullying leaves on a person may never fade. As human to human, we should reach out to one another to alleviate pain, not to cause it.




How to Leave an Abusive Relationship Safety

How to Leave an Abusive Relationship Safely

By Penelope R Van Buskirk*

Leaving an abusive spouse can be very traumatic, however, you are not alone. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of domestic violence each year and the numbers are growing.

In so many cases, you as the victim of Domestic Violence, are under the control of your partner. He can be very loving and kind one moment and abusive the next. It can be very difficult to leave someone you may love, but it is important to focus on your future: a future without violence, abuse, and fear.

Planning ahead is crucial.

Secretly begin to gather your items (clothing, jewelry, toiletries) and, if you have children, start collecting their clothing, toys, ect). Make certain you have essential documents: Birth Certificates, marriage license, diplomas and degrees and tax returns. Store them in a safe place--either at a friends' house or in the trunk of your car. MAKE CERTAIN YOUR ABUSIVE SPOUSE DOES NOT HAVE A KEY TO YOUR CAR. If he does, secretly remove your key from his key ring, and replace it with a similar key which looks like your car key but, of course, it is not.


Fortunately, you have several options:

1. If you have relatives or friends close by who are willing and able to help you, take this under consideration. If children are involved, relatives might be the best place to stay if they are able to protect and guide you through your journey to freedom. They can also assist you in seeking the legal representation you will need.

2. Another option is to call a domestic violence shelter in your area. Shelters are no longer rooms filled with bunk beds. They have private rooms where you can rest and think. You will be guided by professionals who are well versed in all facets of Domestic Violence. If you do not know about the shelters in your state, you can contact THE NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE, on their website: http://www.ndvh.org call the toll free number: 1-800-799-SAFE. They will guide you to the shelters in your state. And you will soon discover that you are not alone!

It is crucial that you learn to believe in yourself again. Counseling will be extremely helpful as you climb your way to freedom. Repeat this mantra to yourself daily: "I am beginning a new life."

There is no shame in today's world regarding domestic violence as there has been in the past. Let go of negative thoughts such as "What did I do to deserve this?" No one deserves to be abused. Focus on a new future, free of fear and try and discard the feeling of helplessness.

So you don't think I am some fly-by-night eager to harvest some gripes of wrath, I understand what you are going through as I too was a victim of abuse. But you can become a SURVIVOR. When you have reached that rung of your ladder to freedom, you will feel such peace and begin to understand that love with abuse, wasn't love at all.

*Penelope Van Buskirk authored the book For Worse Never Better: Diary of An Abused Wife and Escape to Freedom. You can purchase on Amazon (soft cover is cheapest) or from Authorhouse.com which is even cheaper. 50% of proceeds go to the Chrysalis Domestic Violence Shelter

Violence Against Men: It Is More Prevalent Than We Think

Violence Against Men: It Is More Prevalent Than We Think

By Penelope R Van Buskirk*

Mark and Valerie had just left a movie theatre. Hand in hand, they strolled toward their car and suddenly heard shouting and screaming. They stopped walking. The mall parking lot was well lit. They listened, scanned the area but did not see nor hear anyone.

As Mark opened the door to their car, they heard the loud voice again. A male voice. "Leave me alone!" he shouted. This has gone on long enough. I'm filing for divorce. You're a sick woman! You just broke my nose! You need professional help. I'll take a cab and get my car and the children at the house. So just leave!" Then, silence.

Mark started the car and put the windows down. They listened for voices but heard none. Suddenly the voices could be heard again. A female voice was shouting, "Oh no you won't! I'll take you to court so fast you won't have time to retain counsel. You are not leaving! I won't allow it!"

His voice was louder this time. "You don't have to allow it! Now stop punching me. My nose is already broken. Keep your hands off me or I'll call the police! NOW!"

Valerie was dumbfounded. "Mark?" she whispered. "Have you ever heard of a man being abused? Or are we just misinterpreting what we are hearing?"

He thought for a moment. "No, I don't think so. You hear plenty of stories about violence against women but I don't recall ever reading about a man being the victim. I don't understand. Why doesn't he just push her away, get in the car and leave?"

They decided to drive around, windows down, and find out where this was coming from. After a few minutes, they spotted the couple. They were both tall. He was well built, however she was overweight. They were standing behind a late model black sedan. Mark found an open parking spot near the sparring couple and turned of the lights.

"Wow," Valerie said quietly. "I really thought he was the attacker. But look at his face. He is covered in blood."

He was about to respond when they heard the man yell out in pain. They had a clear vision of the woman, punching him in the face and arms, ordering him to get back in the car.

"That does it," Mark said and dialed 911.

In minutes, the police arrived. Mark got out of the car and flagged them down. He briefly explained what they saw and what they heard. He gave the police his driver's license, phone numbers and directed them to the couple.

Thirty-eight percent of injured victims are men. Referred to as The Battered Male Syndrome, men are reluctant to admit they have been abused by their spouses or anyone else. These victims often suffer in silence and try to maintain peace in the household, protecting their children as much as they can. And just as female victims tend to lie to coworkers, friends or family, they will like about the cause of visible injuries.

Many Domestic Violence Shelters across the United States now offer protection to abused men. And with sufficient evidence, they will be given custody of the children by court order.

The oldest Men's Rights Organization in North America began as The National Coalition of Free Men (NCFM) in 1977. It is now called The National Coalition of Men, Inc. The Organization also includes women.

I urge everyone to get invovled. Don't turn the other cheek if you witness domestic violence or abuse. ACT ON IT. Dialing 911 is easy. You could save a life!

*Penelope Van Buskirk authored the book For Worse Never Better: Diary of An Abused Wife and Escape to Freedom. You can purchase on Amazon (soft cover is cheapest) or from Authorhouse.com which is even cheaper.  50% of proceeds go to the Chrysalis Domestic Violence Shelter