Friday, September 29, 2017

October's Important Conversation

By Julie Nauman, CalVCB Executive Officer

The start of October means the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month — a time to have an important conversation.

Family violence is a crime that impacts all races, ages and socioeconomic levels. No one is immune. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. This equals more than 10 million men and women in a year.

In California, nearly 33 percent of adult women and 27 percent of adult men have experienced some kind of intimate partner physical violence in their lives.

Domestic violence is a complex issue. Many victims will closely guard a family violence secret, and at times, feel compelled to protect the abuser. No one wants to share that the person they care about, the pillar of the community or the one taking care of the family is hurting them.

Breaking the silence is the first crucial step in empowering victims. October’s annual observance provides an opportunity to listen, share stories of survival, or just have a conversation about an uncomfortable subject. It’s also a time to unite and raise awareness about the availability of resources for victims.

Those in the field of victim services know all too well that domestic violence carries both a physical and mental cost. What many do not realize is that there is also a financial cost.

The California Victim Compensation Board (CalVCB) can help with crime-related expenses such as medical care, mental health treatment, home security systems, relocation, income loss and more.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Human Trafficking Victims — Hiding In Plain Sight

By Julie Nauman, CalVCB Executive Officer

January is known nationwide as Human Trafficking Awareness Month, but how much do you know about this crime?

Human trafficking, also known as modern day slavery, is a multi-billion dollar criminal industry that occurs on every continent and in every country and state. In 2016 there were 5,748 human trafficking cases in the United States, 1,012 in California alone. Of the 3,130 calls made to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline last year in California, the largest percentage were from people who suspected human trafficking within their own communities.

Given these statistics, it’s likely you have come across a victim of human trafficking without even knowing it. She could be the woman next to you on the bus you take to work. She could be a little girl in your daughter’s class. He could be the one who picks the fruit you purchase at the local grocery store. Victims can be hard to identify because they look like us, and are often hidden in plain sight.

Even though victims may be all around us, we may not notice them because we don’t know what to look for.

Public awareness is one of the most important tools we have to fight human trafficking. By learning to recognize the signs and raising awareness in our communities, we can all take part in fighting this horrific epidemic.

A victim could be someone who:
  • Is not free to leave or come and go as they wish
  • Is unpaid, paid very little or paid only through tips
  • Shows signs of physical or sexual abuse, physical restraint or confinement
  • Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense or nervous/paranoid
The California Victim Compensation Board (CalVCB) provides hope for many victims and families of violent crimes. We cover crime-related expenses such as relocation, medical and mental health treatment, home security and more.

CalVCB was established over 50 years ago and remains the largest compensation program in the nation. We recognize that victims of human trafficking are often hesitant to come forward, but we work with victim advocates and service providers to ensure victims get the help they need to move forward with their lives.

If you believe you know a victim of human trafficking or have information about a potential human trafficking situation, please contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

Julie Nauman is the Executive Officer for the California Victim Compensation Board (CalVCB). CalVCB provides compensation for victims of violent crime.