Friday, August 2, 2019

National Night Out: Law Enforcement and Community Partnerships

National Night Out: Law Enforcement and Community Partnerships

By The Elk Grove Police Department

Since 1984, National Night Out has been an annual community-building campaign promoting police-community partnerships. In most states, National Night Out is held on the first Tuesday in August and consists of block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts and much more. The goal of National Night Out is to strengthen relationships between neighbors and law enforcement and provide an opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances. Law enforcement agencies like the Elk Grove Police Department, understand that stronger relationships with the community help to create safer lives for us all.

Elk Grove Police Department has taken an innovative approach to improving thing in their city. In January 2014, the City of Elk Grove received a grant from the Office on Violence Against Women to fund a full-time advocate position. The city partnered with WEAVE to provide victim services to individuals in Elk Grove. The advocate assists victims/survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Clients can receive crisis counseling, emotional support, long-term or short-term case management, accompaniment, advocacy and connections to other community resources, such as CalVCB.  The advocate provides training to professionals in the community including EGPD officers. They also ride along with officers and are called out to scenes after a domestic violence incident. The advocate wants each client to know there are resources available and they can receive support when they are ready.

Law enforcement agencies play a vital role in connecting victims to services like CalVCB. Law enforcement officials are often there during some of the worst times in a victim’s life and want to make sure that victims can get the help that they need. By referring victims and loved ones to CalVCB, law enforcement officials can help  them access lifesaving services such as relocation, mental health benefits and more.

The California Victim Compensation Board is dedicated to providing financial assistance for many crime-related expenses. Victims who suffer physical injury, threat of physical injury or emotional injury as a direct result of a violent crime may qualify for assistance. To learn more visit:

Friday, June 7, 2019

Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse in California

Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse in California 

By John Hartmire, Associate Government Program Analyst, California Department of Social Services, Adult Protective Services 

Adult Protective Services (APS) is present in every one of California’s 58 counties, and it is busier than ever these days. More of California’s elderly and dependent adults were abused last year than ever before, and at a cost of more than $165 million. APS investigated nearly 191,000 reports of abuse in fiscal year 2017-2018, up from the 184,000 reports received the previous year, and up 49% from the 128,124 reports received in 2011-12. Of those reports,167,081 were investigated, and 76,056 were confirmed as recognized instances of abuse. 

The upsurge in instances of abuse continues a trend partly attributed to the well-documented growth in the nation’s senior population, as well as an increasing awareness of what the abuse of elderly and dependent adults looks like and how it penetrates the fabric of family and community. It is not as simple as the fact that America’s Baby Boomers are retiring to the tune of about 10,000 every day, but also that the avenues of reporting elderly and dependent adult abuse have become more accessible. Every county has a 24-hour toll-free reporting hotline, there is improved understanding and working partnership between agencies, and the training for mandated reporters continues to expand and improve. The scope of the potential problem can be found in demographics: in 2011, for example, seniors comprised 12% of California’s total population, by 2016 14%, and by 2050 that number is estimated to swell to 20%. By 2030, there will be 36 seniors living in California for every 100 working Californians. The number of potential victims increase annually. 

APS is obligated by law to confidentially investigate every allegation and report received, and, when appropriate, offer to any elderly or disabled adult found to be a victim of abuse a case plan that seeks to help them recover. The plans are voluntary, and the cases run the gamut, with some resolved as easily as providing a hot meal or bag of groceries until a lost wallet can be replaced, while others are vastly more complicated, involving family members, while still others will involve outside agencies chasing down bank accounts and elaborately fraudulent property transactions. Financial abuse may be the most common form of abuse APS investigates, it is certainly not the only one. 

More than half of the reports of abuse APS investigated and confirmed last year were cases of self-neglect—42,813 to be precise. There were over 6,100 confirmed allegations of physical abuse, and over 9,600 confirmed allegations of psychological and emotional abuse. Across the board, in all categories, the numbers have increased annually. 

The California Victim Compensation Board is dedicated to providing financial assistance for many crime-related expenses. Victims who suffer physical injury, threat of physical injury or emotional injury as a direct result of a violent crime may qualify for assistance. To learn more visit:

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Domestic Violence and its Effects on Children

By Alexandria Farrell, Department of Social Services, Office of Child Abuse Prevention

CalVCB logo and text: Domestic Violence Awareness Month, October 2018.
Imagine being a child, sitting in your room playing, quiet and carefree. Then out of nowhere, the happy space you have created is drowned out by an unpleasant and familiar sound. Mom and dad are fighting again. Do you run out of your room and try to intervene or do you stay, trying to escape the noise in the safe space of your room. As the fights go on, becoming more frequent, louder, and scarier, your safe space continues to get smaller and smaller until eventually it doesn’t exist anymore. This may seem like a bad dream to you, but for some children, this is reality. More than five million children witness domestic violence in the United States each year. These children are three times more likely to repeat this cycle as adults.

Now, what constitutes domestic violence? The United States Department of Justice defines domestic violence as a pattern of behavior that one person in a relationship uses to control the other. The pattern of behavior can be expressed in a variety of ways, such as via verbal, emotional, physical, financial and/or sexual abuse. When a child is exposed to domestic violence it means that the child has heard or seen one or both parents or guardians engage in violent behaviors or has seen the effects of violent behaviors. This can include witnessing or hearing the violence firsthand, hearing about it when it is discussed after the fact or seeing marks or bruises on a parent or guardian.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Sexual Assault Awareness Month: A Time to Take Action

by Sandra Henriquez, CEO, CALCASA

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) and the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) is excited to partner with public officials, college campuses, law enforcement, victim advocates and communities across California to raise awareness.

Over the past year, we have witnessed sexual assault receive national attention through the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. Survivors who once suffered in silence for decades have found the courage to publically speak out and have been greeted by a society no longer tolerant of rape and abuse. As we enter Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we have the opportunity to continue to create positive change.

In February, CALCASA released a new report The Costs and Consequences of Sexual Violence in California. The report was commissioned by CALCASA in an effort to create greater comprehension of the physical, emotional, social, and economic impact of rape and sexual assault upon California taxpayers. For some, the idea of discussing the economic impact of sexual harassment and violence appears unseemly. While sexual harassment and assault are very personal, in order to understand their impact, we need to look at them in the aggregate and in their environments. Families, friends, partners, neighbors and co-workers know firsthand the time and resources necessary to recover from sexual violence. But never before has there been a comprehensive, quantitative analysis of how much this utterly preventable crime costs the state. By collectivizing rapes and other acts of sexual violence, we can see their broader impact.

At a minimum, the report reveals how ALL Californians have an investment in eliminating sexual violence. This year CALCASA’s focus for Sexual Assault Awareness Month brings out key components of our report in order to create greater comprehension of the physical, emotional, social, and economic impact of rape and sexual assault. We believe, and the research demonstrates, that building thriving communities and supporting healthy relationships can prevail over sexual violence and we can do this by investing in prevention.

Moving forward, we need to focus on prevention in response to the impacts of sexual violence in our communities. For Sexual Assault Awareness Month, CALCASA developed resources to share the consequences of rape and sexual assault, enhance the visibility of our efforts to end sexual violence, and the need to move forward with prevention. Focusing on prevention can help strengthen and grow the support for survivors and our communities.

CALCASA is honored to support the 84 rape crisis centers and rape prevention programs that serve all of California, provide survivors with a place to turn in their time of need, and take action to prevent sexual violence. The time for survivors is now, to support and elevate their voices, and the time for prevention is now.

What will you do for Sexual Assault Awareness Month? Join CALCASA’s effort with the Partnership for $50 Million to end sexual and domestic violence.

If you are a victim/survivor of sexual violence, help and resources are available. Victims can call the free and confidential National Sexual Assault Helpline at 1-800-656-4673 or find their local agency at

Monday, January 8, 2018

Supply and Demand: The Complex Nature of Human Trafficking

by Emily Butler, on behalf of The Grace Network

Human trafficking is modern day slavery. It occurs in every country, including most regions and cities throughout the United States. California is no exception. Over the last five years, California has reported the most human trafficking cases in the nation according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

Trafficking can be defined as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud or coercion. It takes many forms, including commercial sex, bonded labor, domestic servitude, etc.

Victims may be both minors or adults, foreign-born or U.S. born, males or females. Trafficking may take place in homes, hotels, massage parlors, bars, online or any other myriad of locations.

So, what can be done to help victims and potential victims of this exploitation?

Photo of young girl with barcode on her arm. CalVCB logo. Text next to photo: January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
While law enforcement plays an important role, the truth is that there is work that can be done by any community member to help prevent trafficking in our communities. In trafficking, there is a supply of victims, demand from people willing to pay for their exploitation and facilitators looking to make a profit. The prevention of human trafficking requires that we address all three.

In sex trafficking, most of the supply of victims in California come from youth who end up in the system — kids who are runaways, throwaways or victims of abuse or neglect. These kids are vulnerable to facilitators who pose as loving boyfriends or father figures, people who prey on their vulnerability.

Fortunately, there are already groups and organizations doing just that, often without the label of “fighting human trafficking.” They simply need more resources and manpower to continue their good work.

Groups that are directly or indirectly working to stop the supply of victims are any organizations that help empower and protect vulnerable youth. Among these agencies are group homes, foster care homes, after school programs, community centers, homeless shelters, drop-in centers and trauma recovery centers.

These groups are also helping to transform those who could become facilitators in the commercial sex trade. Young men and women who could become exploiters can find a different path through the influence of mentors and other opportunities.

The demand in sex trafficking comes from sex buyers, mostly men, who consume commercial sex, whether online, in clubs or on the streets. Groups that contribute to ending the demand work to stop the consumption of pornography, provide support groups for men and pursue other forms of accountability in the commercial sex trade.

The fight against human trafficking requires an army — it requires people to be aware and it requires that people get involved in their communities to serve vulnerable youth by helping give them opportunities for a safe future.

If you are a victim of human trafficking, help is available. Victims can call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 or The Grace Network at (916) 850-0846 for assistance.

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.