Archive for the ‘General News & Updates’ Category

Saluting SAFE Nurses

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

The Crisis Shelter of Lawrence County salutes the efforts and dedication of the four forensic (SAFE) nurses in Lawrence County. Under the supervision and support of the Children’s Advocacy Center in New Castle, these professionals play a vital role in working with victims of sexual assault to find healing and justice.

A forensic nurse provides dedicated and specialized care for patients who are victims and/or a suspect of intentional or unintentional violence. Although he or she is a nurse first, this healthcare professional possesses knowledge of the legal system and expertise in forensic sciences.

After meeting a patient’s healthcare and psychosocial needs, the forensic nurse often collects evidence, provides medical testimony in court, and consults with legal authorities. By hiring and training forensic nurses, a community ensures that those who are affected by violence and abuse receive the specialized care they deserve—and forges or strengthens a vital link to ensure the administration of justice.

The board, administration, staff and volunteers of the Crisis Shelter of Lawrence County offered a heartfelt thank you to the nurses during National Forensic Nurses Week Nov. 9-13.

Sanctuary Certified

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

sanctuaryThe Crisis Shelter is now TRAUMA INFORMED and SANCTUARY CERTIFIED.

The Sanctuary Model is both an organizational change and a treatment intervention model that   provides a blueprint for creating a culture that helps people heal from the experiences that have hurt them.  The primary goal of Sanctuary is to promote safety.

The Crisis Shelter began its journey to implement the Sanctuary Model in February 2011 when 7 staff members attended a 5 day training, learning about the Model, the impact of trauma on clients and the staff members who provide critical services in our community every day as well as how to implement the Model within our agency.  Over the next 4 years the Crisis Shelter trained staff members, volunteers and other community stakeholders in the basic tenants of the Model and the agency examined its policies and practices ranging from client intake processes to managing staff wellness and began to create a culture where individuals can feel safe and heal from the damaging effects of trauma, chronic stress and adversity.  In January 2015 the Crisis Shelter received a 3 year certification in the Sanctuary Model.  The agency continues to practice the Model and implement new and innovative ways to address and lessen the effects of trauma and looks forward to re-certification in 2018.

Basic Beliefs of the Model:

The Sanctuary Model is based on two very basic assumptions about human beings.

  • The recognition that adversity is an inherent part of human experience, and that these experiences shape the way that people behave.
  • The premise that appreciating the effects of these experiences means changing the question that we ask about the people we serve and those with whom we work. It’s not about “what’s wrong with you,” but rather “what’s happened to you?”

Sanctuary creates a “shared language” which helps us to address the ways in which trauma, adversity and chronic stress influence individual behavior as well as recognize the ways in which whole organizations can be influenced.  The “shared language” includes:

  • Trauma Theory
  • E.L.F.
  • The Seven Sanctuary Commitments
  • The Sanctuary Toolbox

Why We Do This:

The Sanctuary Model operates with the assumption that trauma is a universal experience.

The Adverse Childhood Experience study conducted by Drs. Felitti and Anda as a collaborative effort of Kaiser Permanente and The Centers for Disease Control demonstrates that not only is exposure to childhood adversity widespread (2/3 of their participants indicated early childhood exposure) but it is also connected to poor health outcomes in adulthood.

Because we know so many people have been exposed to trauma, we can also assume that some people’s experience related to that exposure are causing difficulty in achieving a comfortable quality of life.

Trauma:

Traumatization occurs when both internal and external resources are inadequate to cope with an external threat (Van der Kolk, 1989).  While the impact of trauma can vary by person, common causes of traumatization include domestic violence, sexual assault and other violent crimes such as physical assault, armed robbery and kidnapping.

The impact of trauma is complex and wide-ranging.  Someone who has experienced a traumatic event often is affected in many domains of their lives.  The experience of trauma actually alters brain function and manifests in the following ways:

  • Hypersensitivity to minor threat (in other words, a person’s reactions to a situation might appear out of context)
  • Extremist thinking
  • Hyper-arousal (or constantly on the lookout for danger)
  • Numbing
  • Acting out
  • Sense of helplessness (which might appear as substance abuse or self-harming behaviors)

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Sex Offender Accountability

Monday, July 30th, 2012

CRISIS SHELTER RECEIVES GRANT FOR MANDATED SEX OFFENDER ACCOUNTABILITY PROGRAM

The Crisis Shelter of Lawrence County has been awarded a grant of nearly $90,000 by the FISA Foundation to support the implementation of the Lawrence County Sex Offender Accountability Program.

“This FISA Foundation grant is critical to the ongoing work of the Crisis Shelter,” said Dayna Shaw Sear, Executive Director, “and has enabled us to work with our community partners, including Lawrence County District Attorney Josh Lamancusa, Lawrence County Adult Probation, Clover Psychological Association, State Parole, Children’s Advocacy Center and Children & Youth Services to develop this program and enhance current sex offender treatment while adding additional restorative justice elements and increasing the victim healing.” 

Nicole Amabile, Victim Services Supervisor at the Crisis Shelter said, “The FISA Foundation understands that in order to better address the needs of victims work must also be done in the area of offender treatment and have committed to funding promising practices.”   Assistance in data collection and analyzing outcomes is being provided by a researcher from the University of Pittsburgh.  Amabile included, “In addition to the primary goal of enhancing sex offender and victim treatment, the collaborative project is also designed to reduce offender recidivism rates and the number of offenders remanded to jail for nonpayment of mandated polygraph fees.” 

“All of the partners in the project have dedicated much time to getting this program up and running,” Sear also commented.  “We are very fortunate in Lawrence County to have a criminal justice system and victim service network that is dedicated to working together to think outside of the box to improve the system.”  The Sex Offender Accountability Program was officially launched in Lawrence County on July 1st and is the first collaborative program of its kind. 

About Crisis Shelter of Lawrence County

The Crisis Shelter of Lawrence County was founded in 1980 and serves victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and other violent crimes in the Lawrence County community.  The mission of the Crisis Shelter is to empower and advocate for those affected by domestic violence, sexual assault and other violent crimes.  The Crisis Shelter inspires and educates citizens to create safer communities and break the cycle of violence.  The organization’s dual goal is to provide direct service to victims while breaking the cycle of abuse and engaging meaningful social transformation through coordinated efforts that empower residents, engage bystanders, teach healthy behaviors and provide mentors and positive role models to those striving for a violence free life.   Learn more about the Crisis Shelter at www.crisisshelter.org.

 About FISA Foundation

The mission of FISA Foundation is to build a culture of respect and improve the quality of life for three populations in southwestern Pennsylvania: women, girls and people with disabilities. For over 100 years, FISA has been led by women and focused on responding to unmet community needs. Originally founded in 1911 by an organization that became known as the Federation of Independent School Alumnae to improve the lives of poor and working class women, the organization underwent a metamorphosis over the years. In 1956, to meet the needs of people with disabilities, the Federation converted its convalescent home into Harmarville Rehabilitation Center, which became recognized internationally for excellence and innovation. In 1996, Harmarville was sold, and the FISA Foundation was established to continue the charitable work of the Federation in the southwestern Pennsylvania region. Learn more about FISA at www.fisafoundation.org.

Child Abuse Prevention Tips

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Allow Experts To Testify

Monday, December 19th, 2011

TO: Pennsylvania State Senator Greenleaf, 12th District:    Pass House Bill 1264 allowing experts to testify in sex assault cases

Why This Is Important

Pennsylvania is the only state in the U.S. that does not allow experts to testify in sex abuse cases. House Bill 1264 would allow experts to address questions about victim behavior in sex assault cases, including why a person abused in childhood might wait for decades to report the assaults.

This bill has already passed in the State House in Pennsylvania by a 197-0 margin. But since last June 2011, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Stewart Greenleaf, has not done a thing about it, telling the Philadelphia Weekly that he has concerns about it. (15 Dec 2011 ‘PA’s Backward Expert-Witness Law Creates Advantage for Jerry Sandusky’ by Tara Murtha)

Chillingly, as the trial for Sandusly approaches, the Wall Street Journal reports, “In Pennsylvania legal circles Mr. Amendola is known for attacking the credibility of alleged victims, especially those in sexual-assault cases.” (16 Dec 2011 ‘Sandusky’s Lawyer Defends Himself’ by John W. Miller and Jennifer Smith)

With Sandusky’s lawyer getting ready to attack the credibility of the alleged victims it is time for Sen. Greenleaf to stop stalling and pass 1264.

“If victims finally get the courage to come forward and report the abuse, they should not be further victimized by having the very normal behaviors and reactions of a sex assault victim looked upon as abnormal by a court or jury who simply isn’t educated in these things.”

                                                       -Rep. Cherelle Parker, D-Philadelphia, co-sponsor of House Bill 1264

To sign the petition and/or write a letter visit:      http://www.change.org/petitions/pennsylvania-state-senator-greenleaf-12th-district-pass-house-bill-1264-allowing-experts-to-testify-in-sex-assault-cases

 

Preventing Murder

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

With a bit of congressional support, a simple test can save many lives.  The Crisis Shelter is set to implement this Lethality Assessment Program here in Lawrence County.

By Editorial, Friday, October 28,8:00 PM

IN 2009, ONE-FOURTH of the District’s 144 homicides were linked to abusive relationships. The following year, according to the advocacy group D. C. Safe, the number of domestic-violence homicides fell by half.

In Maryland, there has been a 41 percent drop in the number of homicides linked to domestic violence over the past three years. 

The rate of violent crime overall has been declining, but not that fast. The dramatic drop in domestic-violence deaths in Maryland and the District is due largely to a simple but effective tool that helps identify women most at risk of being killed by their husbands or boyfriends. It is a tool that, if used nationwide, could save hundreds of the approximately 1,200 women killed every year by partners or former partners.

To read more click on the link below.

Preventing murder

Sexting…what is it?

Monday, July 11th, 2011

The newest craze among teens is to send nude or seminude photographs of themselves to others via cell phone or other media sharing devices.  Staggering statistics show that your child may be affected.  You say, “What’s the big deal?”  Anything you send via text or picture message can be shared with others around the world.  Nothing is temporary on your computer.  There is no “taking it back” once you push send. 

 Teens and Parents, consider the consequenses. 

 Teens – one felony is added for each picture and for each time it was forwarded to someone else.  Each charge could bring up to 7 years in prison and hefty fines.  So if you received a nude picture of your girl/boy friend then forwarded it to 5 of your friends, you could face up to 6 felony charges.  That means you could face up to 42 years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.

 Parents – you have the responsibility of talking with your children about the risks associated with sexting and teaching your children how to use technology safely.  Teach your children that reporting the receipt of sex text messages to a trusted adult is the only responsible option.  Forwarding such messages is considered dissemination and storing it on the phone is considered possession.  You have 100% of the decision making power in allowing your child to have a cell phone or another media sharing devise.  Talk with your children about the great responsibility that comes with the privilege. 

To read more….. SAVE-Parents_vol 2 Sexting   and    SAVE-Teen_vol 2 Sexting 

Stalking

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Physical stalking is following someone, appearing at a person’s home or place of business, making harassing phone calls, leaving written messages or objects, or vandalizing one’s property.  Cyberstalking involves using the internet or other electronic means toharass..  
 

U.S. crime statistics show that 1 in 12 women will be stalked in their lifetime, as will 1 in 45 men. The landmark “Stalking in America” study determined that about 1,000,000 women and 400,000 men are stalked each year. Stalking abuse initially consists of psychological violence and often escalates and culminates in physical violence.    Read more…   Stalking for Website

 

 

Cyberbullying

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Cyberbullying is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones.  Cyberbullying must have a minor on both sides of the interaction. 

Examples are:
~~ “I hate you.  Everyone else hates you.  You should die.”
~~”Fat and Ugly! See pictures of the ugliest kid at school.”
~~”Vote for the uglist kid by clicking here.”

Read more in our GET INFORMED, GET INVOLVED Newsletters                    SAVE-Parents_vol 1 Cyberbullying
SAVE-Teen_vol 1 Identity Safety, Cyberbyllying

Fight For Zero

Monday, June 21st, 2010

 

Visit the Crisis Shelter’s newest website, http://www.fightforzero.org, that enables victims of domestic violence to chat live with a professional, without charge, 24 hours a day.  This site provides instant support and feedback to those seeking help through a chat room and/or email capability.  It also offers domestic violence and sexual assault facts and information, a free risk assessment and directions for next steps and safety planning.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdQnuoAK-68

The chat room is unique in that it is completely anonymous and confidential.  The site was designed with these factors being a major consideration in the planning. If a visitor to the site prefers email to chat, they can simply send an email and a trained professional will respond immediately.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imtjzTYss4c

Although this website offers round the clock support, it is not meant to replace the 24 – hour hotline;  it simply adds another avenue for support.

Shelter staff members spoke to organizations/agencies to acquaint them with this FIGHT FOR ZERO initiative and what the Crisis Shelter offers and how to access it.  Part of the initiative is to get people to become more active bystanders so that if they know someone who may need Crisis Shelter services we are asking them to point them to our website or hotline.  This website requires additional staffing for chats and emails;  if you would like to help in this area, volunteers are offered an 80-hour training to assist in responding to chats and emails.

If interested in helping or to obtain more information, email volunteer@crisisshelter.org.