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Amberly’s Place: Rise in adult sexual assaults, child abuse.

Amberly’s Place reported a marked increase in adult sexual assaults and child abuse and an increase in online extortion and exploitation of children.

The family advocacy center provided services to 331 primary and secondary victims of abuse in April and 278 in the month of May, which represents a 16% increase in total victims served compared to the same period last year.

Executive Director Tori Bourguignon also noted a marked increase in adult sexual assaults and child abuse and a modest increase in the number of domestic violence victims.


In April/May 2024, victims reported 17 adult sexual assaults, compared to 4 in the same period in 2023.

In April/May 2024, 62 child sexual abuse cases were reported to the agency, up from 46 in the same period last year.

The number of child physical abuse in April/May 2024 were 20, up from 6 in the same period in 2023.

The agency helped 62 victims of child sexual abuse in April/May 2024, compared to 46 in the same period last year.

The agency also assisted 176 victims of domestic violence in April/May 2024, compared to 149 in the same two months in 2023.

“The staff continues to work diligently to meet the ever-increasing needs of those seeking assistance,” Bourguignon said.

Amberly’s Place, a nonprofit organization, provides services to primary and secondary victims of abuse in Yuma County and parts of Imperial County.

Primary victims are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, child abuse, both physical and sexual, and human sex trafficking. Secondary victims are those who witness and/or are directly impacted by the abuse of the primary victim.

“We are seeing an increase in online extortion and exploitation of children,” Bourguignon said. “Please be mindful of the dangers of online predators who are using aliases, pretending to be kids, and preying on them via text messages, social media, and online video chat platforms like Zoom and Google Meets to lure kids and manipulate them into sending explicit photos and personal information. It is important to raise awareness of the dangers of online interactions, as far too many of our children are being victimized by these online predators.”

The agency continues to receive support from the community. In May, the local RDO Equipment Company hosted the Desert Coast Growers Invitational golf tournament at the Yuma Golf and Country Club. The proceeds were donated to Amberly’s Place.

“We are sincerely grateful for the RDO Team’s generosity and support of our mission to provide services to abuse victims,” Bourguignon said.

Amberly’s Place held its drawing for Week in Paradise, the biggest fundraiser of the year, on June 1 at Waylon’s Water World. The agency uses these funds to help abuse victims with emergency needs.

“We are grateful to all of the sponsors, the team at Waylon’s Water Park, and our community for once again supporting this fundraiser,” she added.

The Week in Paradise winners were following: Blythe Daily, Weekend Getaway; LH, Grand Canyon; Cynthia Hummer, Las Vegas Getaway; Foothills Rotary, Legoland Getaway; Sharon Merz, Durango Colorado Getaway; Shirley Bush, California Beach Getaway; Mission Citrus, Knotts Berry Farm; Tom Stock, Deep Sea Fishing Excursion; Jonathan Lines, Disneyland; and Dr. Laura Hartman, Hawaiian Getaway.

Bourguignon noted that June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month. “Elder abuse is far more common than most of us think, and it most often goes unreported. Elder abuse can include physical abuse, financial exploitation, sexual abuse/assault, emotional abuse and, most commonly, neglect. It is the most underreported crime that we deal with on an annual basis,’ she said.

For World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, staff wore purple and participated in activities and events in the community to raise awareness for this “vulnerable” population.

The center has a response team that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To talk to a crisis advocate, call the 24-hour helpline: 928-373-0849.

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