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Just The Facts
Last month Amberly’s Place had 255 abuse victims reach out for help in August, a 42 percent increase from last year. Domestic violence always creates the most victims in Yuma County.
In August, the center helped 62 primary victims of domestic violence, those who were assaulted, and 47 secondary victims, usually children who witness this crime.
Statistically, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will be victims of domestic violence. On average 20 people every minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the U.S., according to National Coalition Against Domestic Violence statistics. Across the U.S. on a typical day more than 20,000 calls are placed to domestic violence hotlines.
Amberly’s Place crisis advocates only respond to the scene of the more serious cases of domestic violence; sometimes they are attempted homicides or homicides.
Children are exposed to domestic violence every day, Diane Umphress, executive director, noted. “When you look at our stats, look at the number of those under 18 served and impacted by abuse -- 118 last month. These children have a higher chance of dropping out of school, getting involved in drugs and lacking the coping skills needed to succeed.”
Amberly's Place released the following statistics for August.
Primary victims: 102
Secondary victims: 153
Yuma Police Department: 85
Yuma County Sheriff’s Office: 47
Somerton Police Department: 14
San Luis Police Department: 14
Cocopah Police Department: 1
Other agencies: 18
By phone: 5
Adult sexual assault: 15
Secondary victims: 24
Child physical abuse/neglect: 4
Secondary victims: 9
Child sexual abuse/assault: 17
Secondary victims: 29
Domestic violence: 62
Secondary victims: 83
Elder abuse/neglect: 1
Secondary victims: 4
Stalking Harassment: 1
Multidisciplinary team assists: 2
Secondary victims: 4
Deaf/hard of hearing: 1
Immigrants/refugees/asylum seekers: 26
Limited English: 38
American Indian/Alaska Native: 20
Black/African American: 4
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 1
White (non-Latino)/Caucasian: 53
Multiple races: 6
Race not reported: 4
Age not reported: 16
Yumans might be seeing purple in October. Especially on law enforcement patrol vehicles, which are displaying purple magnetic ribbons for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
The ribbons are not only for raising awareness of domestic violence, but to alert victims that there is help available for them.
On Friday morning law enforcement officers gathered at Amberly’s Place, an advocacy center which has a crisis team to assist abuse victims in Yuma County, to get the ribbons for their vehicles and kick off the awareness campaign.
The campaign will shine a light on domestic violence with several events. Amberly’s Place, 1310 S. 3rd Ave., will have a purple lighting ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Monday “to send a beacon of hope to all victims in Yuma County,” said Diane Umphress, the center’s executive director.
Members of the community are invited to attend the ceremony and take tours of the center and learn more of the services it provides.
In addition, an unveiling ceremony for two statues will be held. The statues, donated by “caring donors,” are designed to “offer support and set the stage for victims to know they are safe here,” Umphress noted.
Home Depot will be selling purple lights that Yuma residents can put in the entryway of their homes. “This purple glow in our neighborhoods allows victims to know they are supported by their neighbors,” she said.
Umphress invites Yumans to be proactive in their neighborhoods and report all suspected domestic violence “when you hear the screams.”
Almost every day people ask her what they can do for a family member, friend, employee or coworker whom they suspect is a victim of domestic violence. To answer that question, Amberly’s Place will sponsor two free trainings during the month. The presentation “How Can I Help” will be held in English at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 10 at the Yuma Main Library, 2951 S. 21st Drive. On Oct. 11 in San Luis at 6:30 p.m. at the Cesar Chavez Cultural Center, 1015 N. Main St., the presentation will be held in Spanish.
Other agencies will be at the presentations to answer questions about their services for victims. Those interested in attending should go to the Amberly’s Place Facebook page or Eventbrite to sign up for either presentation. Each site has a limited number of seats. The presentations are free and refreshments will be served.
On Oct. 18 at 6 p.m. at the Yuma Main Library the Victim's Rights Committee will host a Domestic Violence Vigil. This is also open to the public and free of charge.
Umphress said that Gov. Doug Ducey has sent out letters asking all mayors of cities and towns “to get involved and send out the message that Arizonans want domestic violence to stop.” He is suggesting cities light their city halls purple and support the community awareness campaigns.
The Arizona capital will turn purple on Oct. 2 during a ceremony with Ducey on the Senate lawn. Umphress is “honored” to join this lighting ceremony.
Umphress noted that Arizona has already taken “positive steps” to support victims of domestic violence and address the abuse. Among those steps is the creation of a commission for the prevention of violence against women. This commission has professionals from across the state meet to address the issues.
“Gov. Ducey has been very receptive to the recommendations of the commission. I am honored to chair this commission,” Umphress said.
The state has also formed Domestic Violence Fatality Review Teams, which look at all fatalities to see what resources were available and how the outcome could have been changed. The conversations victims have with a crime victim advocate now have client-victim privilege, helping victims address their fears and concerns.
The state has also increased funding for victim services and county sexual assault response teams are being funded. All sexual assault kits collected are being tested.
Guidelines have been set for sexual assault protocols and each county can use them as templates. The state has recognized family advocacy centers and the standards they must adhere to when securing state funding.
“Arizona is very progressive in addressing victims rights,” Umphress said. “As a community we can continue to make a difference and take a stand against domestic violence. Report suspected domestic violence always, educate yourself.”
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