Data released by Amberly’s Place shows another sharp jump in domestic violence numbers.

The family advocacy center assisted 274 primary and secondary victims in October, with 184 being victims of domestic abuse.

Amberly’s Place serves 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.


“It is common to think about the primary victims in these cases, but many don’t often consider the secondary victims of domestic violence,” Executive Director Tori Bourguignon said. “The secondary victims are often children who bear witness to the violence happening in homes and carry with them the trauma that accompanies this violence.”

The October report indicates that 106 were primary victims of domestic violence, a 58% jump over the previous month and 33% increase over the previous year to date. The agency helped 78 secondary victims, a jump of 56% over the previous month and 3% over the previous year to date.

Bourguignon noted that domestic violence is often an indicator of child maltreatment. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children & Families, research indicates that child maltreatment occurs in 30% to 60% of families where spousal abuse takes place.

“Children in violent homes may witness parental violence, be victims of physical abuse or be neglected by parents who are focused on their partners or unresponsive to their children due to their own fears,” Bourguignon said. “Even if children are not maltreated, they may experience harmful emotional consequences from the violence they witness.”

Amberly’s Place, along with many other service providers in the community, are “keenly aware of the toll that domestic violence takes on the entire family,” she added.

The agency strives to provide trauma-informed services designed to address the lasting effects of family violence and work toward a healthier community “one family at a time.”

“We are grateful for all of our multidisciplinary team members and partner agencies who join us in this vital work,” Bourguignon said.

She pointed out that the holiday season is fast approaching and the downturn in the economy has left many families struggling. Each year, with the help of the community, Amberly’s Place provides Christmas gifts for victims’ families that would otherwise go without. If you are interested in adopting a family for Christmas, contact the office at the number below.

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

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Domestic violence continues to be the highest service call for Amberly’s Place, with the agency responding to 30% more calls for this type of abuse than this same time last year.

The family advocacy center assisted 78 primary victims of domestic violence, which brings the year-to-date total to 798.

Overall, the center provided services to 230 primary and secondary victims of all kinds of abuse in September, according to the last figures released by the agency.


Amberly’s Place serves 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 good news is that more and more people are taking a stand and choosing to seek assistance and resources to end domestic violence in their lives,” said Tori Bourguignon, the center’s executive director.

“We are grateful to be able to serve abuse victims in our community alongside many partner agencies. It takes all of us to move the needle and reduce violence in our communities,” she added.

October marked Domestic Violence Awareness Month. To show support, public buildings sported purple lights and public safety vehicles displayed purple ribbon magnets.

Several awareness events were held, and local cities and towns read proclamations. Domestic violence task forces in Somerton and San Luis also hosted awareness walks and events to shed light on this issue.

On Oct. 20, the Yuma County Victim Rights Committee hosted the annual Domestic Violence Vigil at the Yuma County Library.

“Domestic violence is often hidden in plain sight and impacts our community in so many ways,” Bourguignon said.

She pointed out statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (, which note that the costs of intimate partner rape, physical assault and stalking exceeds $5.8 billion each year. Nearly $4.1 billion goes to direct medical and mental health care services.

Survivors of intimate partner violence lose 8 million days of paid work each year and up to 50% of survivors of intimate partner violence who are employed are harassed at work by their abusive partners.

Bourguignon also noted that more than 12 million women and men are victims of physical violence, rape or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States every year. One in four women and one in 10 men have experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime.

Domestic violence accounts for 21% of all violent crimes. In addition, 30% of children exposed to intimate partner violence had their first exposure before the age of 2 and an additional 26% had their first exposure between the ages of 2 and 7.

“Witnessing violence in the home during childhood is an adverse childhood experience, which without proper support may lead to a greater risk of lasting negative effects on health and well-being,” Bourguignon said.

She thanked the local municipalities for hosting events and all those who supported Amberly’s Place in marking Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“We appreciate all who joined us in lighting Yuma purple and raising awareness about domestic violence,” she said.

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

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Amberly’s Place lost a critical and beloved member of the family on March 30. Goldie Love, a certified therapy dog, died at the age of 10. The golden retriever was almost 11 when she “passed over the rainbow bridge.”

Goldie joined the family advocacy center in 2013. She was certified and trained to work with victims. She brought comfort to countless victims, young and old, in Yuma County.

She would lay her head on the laps of victims who had experienced a loss. Children who were scared needed her the most.

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Amberly’s Place has kicked off its annual Week in Paradise fundraiser, and the early-bird drawing will take place Wednesday evening.

The drawing for “paradise” vacation packages is the agency’s biggest fundraiser of the year. The family advocate center uses the funds to help abuse victims in Yuma County and parts of Imperial County with their emergency needs.

This year 11 packages will be given away, with the early-bird winner drawn at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Z Fun Factory. The early-bird winner will receive four 2022 season passes to Waylon’s Water World and a day at Z Fun Factory for four with dinner, go-karts, miniature golf and arcade games; and two active recovery or therapeutic massages by Myolab.

The early-bird winner will also be entered for a chance to win one of the remaining 10 vacation prizes.


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Cynthia Sanks, with SYNERGY Home Care, carries an armload of stuffed teddy bears into Amberly's Place, 1310 S. 3rd Ave., Thursday morning. SYNERGY donated 300 teddy bears to the family advocacy center, then went down the road and donated another batch of bears to Crossroads Mission. "It's the right thing to do, " said Rob Dunn, co-owner and Director of Operations at SYNERGY HomeCare of Yuma. The donation couldn't have come at a better time, said Tori Bourguignon, Executive Director at AMBERLYS PLACE, who said the facility was running low on stuffed bears. 

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Amberly’s Place Executive Director Tori Bourguignon (center) was also given the Yuma Fire Department’s special Sanguinetti Award Monday night by Acting Fire Chief Dusty Fields (left) and Yuma Mayor Doug Nicholls (right).

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April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and the message from Amberly’s Place is that child abuse is everyone’s business.

“The importance of this topic cannot be understated. Child abuse creates a lifetime of challenges for survivors. These adverse childhood experiences have long-term consequences to both the physical and mental health,” said Tori Bourguignon, executive director.

In 2021, the family advocacy center provided services to 1,242 primary and secondary victims of child abuse 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.


“We have made great strides as a community in terms of how we report and respond to child abuse cases, but there is still much work to be done to prevent the abuse from happening,” Bourguignon noted.

This month, Amberly’s Place is working to raise awareness of child abuse and how everyone can help prevent it. One way of shining a spotlight on the issue is by “planting” blue pinwheel gardens around town. Pinwheel gardens bring attention to community efforts to support families and public policies that prioritize prevention to make sure child abuse and neglect never occur.

“Pinwheels are used to help educate communities about the importance of supporting children and families,” Bourguignon said. “Shining in the sun, the pinwheel is reflective of the bright future all children deserve and our belief that getting it right early is less costly than trying to fix it later.”

Some of the pinwheel gardens can be found at Southwest Junior High in San Luis, Bushmaster Memorial Wall in Somerton and Yuma Police Department.


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What’s in a dining room table? A lot more than may be apparent at first glance. For a family, the table can be a place where everyone gathers, lively discussions are held and homework is done. To many, it’s a central place to meet in a home and that’s precisely why it means so much for a family starting over.

On Thursday, April 7, Dr. David Cullison’s Construction Trades students at Fourth Avenue Junior High presented a brand new table that they budgeted for, designed, measured, cut, sawed, stained and assembled to Amberly’s Place, the family advocacy center that helps victims of abuse, which accepted the table on behalf of a family in need.

“For us, this is an opportunity to facilitate community service for these students and help themselves develop hands-on learning and skills that they will use not just today, but in their futures,” said Tori Bourguignon, director of Amberly’s Place. “And it’s an opportunity to give back to a family in need for their community. A table is a very personal thing so it’s a huge gift for a family.”


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Over at Sun Vista RV Resort, a group of quilters helps bring peace through their pieced work. These quilters are known as the Sun Vista Piecemakers and all 68 members are residents of the resort who regularly donate quilts and funds for charitable causes. Among these causes is supporting Amberly’s Place, a family advocacy center that assists victims of abuse, and this year, the Sun Vista Piecemakers presented a $4,200 check to the nonprofit on March 12.

Marion Gilkey, leader of the Piecemakers, explained that the group has been donating quilts and raising funds for Amberly’s Place for years now.

“It’s a very worthy charity,” she said. “They handle domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse and sexual assault.”


Gilkey and her peers shared that they were inspired because they wanted to do something for their community and not just themselves. The group has donated over $58,000 in total to Amberly’s since they got started.

The $4,200 donation is the result of a yearly quilt raffle. The Piecemakers put on a quilt show at their resort, sell tickets to a quilt raffle and donate all the proceeds to Amberly’s. But it doesn’t end there.

The Piecemakers have a sponsored closet of quilts at Amberly’s to be given to everyone who comes in needing help. The quilts in that room are in the hundreds and the Piecemakers make everything from baby quilts to twin-size quilts.


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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.

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