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Amberly’s Place closed the year with a 40% increase in physical child abuse, a 25% increase in domestic violence, and a 9% increase in child sexual abuse.
In 2021, the family advocacy center served 2,706 primary and secondary victims in Yuma County and parts of Imperial County. Secondary victims are those who witness and/or are directly impacted by the abuse of the primary victim.
The center helps victims of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault and elder abuse.
“While these numbers are disturbing, I would be quick to attribute these increases to our children being back in school and our mandated reporters doing a great job reporting suspected child abuse,” said Tori Bourguignon, executive director.
Reports of abuse might have been artificially low in 2020 because abused kids and spouses might have been homebound during the start of the pandemic, away from others, such as teachers, who might have witnessed and reported abuse or encouraged victims to seek help.
“The marked increase in domestic violence cases may well be attributed to our community reopening and victims being able to access the help they need to begin their journey toward safety, healing and recovery,” Bourguignon noted.
However, these numbers don’t reveal the “incredible amount of support that our community has provided to these victims,” she added. “Thank you to each of you who have stepped forward to help us carry out our mission to provide services to victims of abuse.”
Speaking of gratitude, Bourguignon also pointed out that the community rallied once again to help many families in need during this Christmas season. Community members provided food, gifts and, in some cases, even Santa for 43 families.
“It is by far the most we have ever done, and we could not have done it without the efforts of our incredible community,” Bourguignon said.
She expressed appreciation to partner agencies for their “strong collaborative partnerships,” including local law enforcement agencies, members of the Amberly’s Place multidisciplinary team, Arizona Department of Child Safety, Adult Protective Services, Yuma County Attorney’s Office, Regional Center for Border Health, as well as the courts and provider agencies, such as Catholic Community Services and Yuma Community Food Bank.
“We are stronger together and our team is thankful for all you do. We look forward to continuing to work with you in the coming year,” Bourguignon said.
Amberly’s Place is currently making the final arrangements for its annual fundraising dinner, Amberly’s Dream Gala. The event will be held Friday, Feb. 4, at 5:30 p.m. at Julianna’s Patio Cafe, with Chef Eddie Guzman providing the meal. The event will include both a live and silent auction.
Keynote speaker will be Nick Vujicic, an Australian-American born without arms or legs who has become a world-renowned speaker, New York Times best-selling author, coach and entrepreneur.
For ticket information, call Amberly’s Place at 928-373-0849.
To talk to a crisis advocate, call the 24-hour helpline: 928-373-0849. For more information on spotting the signs of abuse, go to www.AmberlysPlace.com.
ABUSE STATISTICS FOR 2021
Primary victims: 1,334
Secondary victims: 1,372
Yuma Police: 883
Yuma County Sheriff’s Office: 466
Somerton Police: 251
San Luis Police: 279
Wellton Police: 11
Quechan Police: 1
Cocopah Police: 10
Imperial County Sheriff’s Office: 15
AWC Police: 1
Other agencies: 79
By phone: 322
Adult sexual assault: 61
Secondary victims: 30
Secondary victims: 6
Child physical abuse/neglect: 94