Paddles and Spirits Were Raised at the 5th Annual Purple Ribbon Breakfast

April 28th, 2022 by ATV Staff

Nearly 200 attendees came out to support victims of violence in our area by helping to raise money for critical services provided by Alternatives to Violence. If you were able to join us, thank you for being there and sharing in an inspiring hour together.

Our own Youth Advocate, Joe O’Bryan, served not only as emcee for the event, but provided entertainment with a few songs while the event wrapped up.

We tested the crowd’s knowledge about domestic violence with a True/False paddle raise. We were impressed by the number of correct answers!

We were privileged to have three remarkable local women share their personal ­– and very different –­ journeys with domestic violence.

  • Jacki Marsh, Mayor for the City of Loveland
  • Allie Reilly, 2022 Mrs. Colorado Petite
  • Queen Dedria Johnson, Founder of Queen’s Legacy Foundation

The event also gave us the opportunity to celebrate Alternatives to Violence’s 40th anniversary. In fact, we were honored to have one of the founders of Alternatives to Violence present at the event, Roxie Ellis!

We announced two special programs happening to commemorate our 40th year.

  • 40 Random Acts of Kindness: We are challenging the community to collectively perform 40 acts of kindness. This is an easy way to brighten someone's day, while also raising awareness for ATV. For complete details on how to participate, please visit here.
  • Free Tote Bag: If you commit to donating $40 every month for a year, we will send you a free anniversary eco-friendly tote bag! Learn more here.

Thank you to our generous sponsors: Bank of Colorado, UCHealth, Rowes Flowers, Realities for Children, The Group Inc. Real Estate, Marci and Greg Foust, Jim and Laddie Adell and James Zack Consulting. These sponsors help to ensure that as much money as possible that is raised goes to servicing clients.

To see photos from the event visit our Facebook page here.

We are grateful by the love shown to the speakers at the event and the positive feedback we have received. We hope to see you at The Purple Ribbon Breakfast next year!

WE LOVE OUR VOLUNTEERS!

April 5th, 2022 by ATV Staff

It is April, which means it is National Volunteer Month!  Alternatives to Violence (ATV) loves our volunteers; they are huge contributors to what we do and how we assist clients.

At ATV, we have many types of volunteer roles that can be broken down into two major types:  direct service roles and non-direct service roles.  Direct service roles are exactly how they sound–you work directly with clients.  These are roles such as our Safehouse Advocate, Court Advocate, Victim Response Team Advocate and Teen Dating Violence Advocate.  Other volunteers choose to work in our office or at events, where you may still see clients, but you are not working with them on a day-to-day basis. 

Volunteers assist our advocates by providing much-needed breaks, answering the phone, listening to a client who may have an issue, or any other need that may arise.  Volunteers are so important to our program because they allow our advocates to spend more one-on-one time with clients to assist them with meeting their goals while they are with us. 

In honor of National Volunteer Month, we want to feature two of our fabulous volunteers.

Kelly has been with ATV since August 2021.  She moved to Fort Collins from South Dakota recently to be closer to her children.  Kelly loves working with clients and staff.  She gives back to her community by assisting ATV with not just work in our SafeHouse, but at events and daily needs.  Kelly is always willing to lend a hand and does it with a smile and kindness.  Her sense of humor and empathy for others make her a special part of our team at ATV.  

Sharon has been with ATV since last June and helps with our Resource Center office, assists with bond hearings if needed and is a member of our Boutique Committee.  Sharon is an organizing queen and has helped us so much since she has started! 

Much gratitude and thanks to Kelly, Sharon and ALL our volunteers!

If you are interested in volunteering at ATV, email our Volunteer and Training Manager , Amanda Mitchell, at amanda.mitchell@alternativestoviolence.org, or call us at 970-669-5150.  Our volunteer process includes an application and interview to make sure we are a good fit for you and you are a good fit for us.  We look forward to hearing from you!

Alternatives to Violence Turns 40!

March 10th, 2022 by Rosemarie Massaro

Teased hair, neon clothing, new wave music….

a lot has changed since 1982, but what hasn’t changed is our commitment to helping victims of violence in our community. We are very proud to share that Alternatives to Violence has been servicing clients for 40 years now!

Alternatives to Violence was founded in January 1982 by Roxie Ellis and Pam Higgins as the Loveland Battered Women’s Task Force operating from the basement of First United Methodist Church. By July the organization was incorporated as Alternatives for Battered Women. They offered services to the community, including a support group for abused women in Loveland and education about the topic. Two years later Linson was made the first official executive director, and during the first year of being open, they helped ten families escaping violence.

It was 1988 when Executive Director Pat Linson realized housing was a problem for victims of domestic abuse. She wanted a place for them to be able to go where they could make some real important decisions about what they needed to do for themselves without having to pay an exorbitant amount of rent or being pressed for time. Thanks to a $242,000 grant from the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, they purchased a house that was converted into separate apartments, intentionally meant not to be like dorm-style housing which was typical of most shelters. Named the Transitional Learning Center, it was the first center of its kind in the state .

It wasn’t until March 1989 that the name was changed to Alternatives to Violence. The change reflected the expansion of services to help not only women, but men as well .

ATV’s SafeHouse opened in October 2016 with 8 rooms and 22 beds to give clients a safe place to stay in times of crisis. Thanks to community support, ATV will be expanding the number of rooms in the SafeHouse this year to accommodate more clients.

Today, ATV helps over 1,600 clients with advocacy, resources and education to put them on a path to healing and independence, away from a life of fear and abuse.

Over the years ATV has been privileged to help women and men find jobs, safe and comfortable places to stay, learn a new skill and care for their children and pets.

As we acknowledge our anniversary, we recognize all the donors, Board members, staff, volunteers and community partners who have helped us along the way. We certainly couldn’t make it this far without you! Thank you for believing in what we do and being a part of our mission.


 

Start Talking About Teen Dating Violence

February 2nd, 2022 by ATV Staff

Teen dating violence is a real issue and comes with serious short and long-term effects. It’s important to help young people learn how to build and recognize healthy relationships to support their development and keep them safe. Studies show one in three young people will be in an abusive or unhealthy relationship, and most will not report it because they do not want to expose themselves or do not know the laws surrounding domestic violence.

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and is the perfect time to educate teens about dating abuse. Alternatives to Violence (ATV) is a great resource to champion efforts in schools, workplaces, teen clubs and venues, and even at home – anywhere where there is an opportunity to reach teens.

“Dating violence is preventable especially if education about healthy relationships starts early,” said ATV Executive Director, Kari Clark. “A teenager experiencing a new relationship might not realize that some of the uncomfortable feelings that are happening are not right. We want to make youngsters aware of the warning signs.”

Teen dating violence is when one or both partners, in an attempt to control the other, use abusive acts to make that person do what he or she wants. This may involve, but is not limited to, physical violence. Teen dating violence can also be verbal, emotional, sexual or a combination of these.

Signs of abuse in a teen relationship may include:

  • Name calling; extreme jealousy; threatening to hurt the partner, family or him or herself
  • Physical violence such as slapping, hair pulling and/or strangling
  • Unwanted touching; forced sex or sexual acts
  • Verbal discouragement; doesn’t compromise
  • Sets boundaries; doesn’t allow partner to see friends

Teens that experience dating violence are more likely to:

  • Experience depression and anxiety
  • Engage in unhealthy behaviors such as using tobacco, drugs and/or alcohol
  • Exhibit antisocial behaviors
  • Think about suicide
  • Have increased risk of victimization during college

Those who wish to help educate teens in their community can follow ATV’s Facebook page or contact ATV's Outreach Coordinator, Marigaye Barnes at marigaye.barnes@alternativestoviolence.org for engagement ideas, collateral and partnerships.

Anyone who believes their child is experiencing teen dating violence can call ATV for help at 970-669-5150.

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month

January 17th, 2022 by ATV Staff

Although Alternatives to Violence works to promote awareness and prevention of human trafficking throughout the whole year, as Human Trafficking Awareness Month, January is a key time to make additional efforts.

What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is a criminal act that involves the use of force or fraud to achieve some type of labor or commercial sex act. Traffickers might use violence, manipulation, or false promises of well-paying jobs or romantic relationships to lure victims into trafficking situations.

According to a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report, nearly 80% of human trafficking is sexual exploitation. The victims of sexual exploitation are predominantly women and girls.

To help prevent, identify or report human trafficking, it’s important to understand some of the signs.

·  Apartments or houses with too many people, all picked up or dropped off at the same time

·  Bruising or untreated injuries

·  No control over personal belongings like mail or phone

·  One person speaking on behalf of many others, who may avoid eye contact or conversation

·  Anxious and unwilling to tell others about their situation

·  Poor health, malnutrition or untreated dental conditions

·  Symptoms of psychological trauma including anxiety, confusion, memory loss

· New tattoos (of cherries, roses, dollar signs or crowns)

· Having older significant others

· STIs or STDs

Help make a change

If your workplace, club, church or agency would like to offer training on human trafficking, please contact Amanda at amanda.mitchell@alternativestoviolence.org or (970) 669-5150.

If you or someone you know needs help

Please call ATV at 970-669-5150 or text 970-669-5157. We are here for you.

ATV's Services Never Take a Holiday

December 4th, 2020 by ATV Staff

You may not realize it, but domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking are highly prevalent around the country, and a harsh reality right here in Northern Colorado.

Each of those violent crimes has seen an alarming surge in the face of COVID-19. As most of the population is working and spending more time at home, victims are forced to be in tight, dangerous confines with their abusers. The pandemic has put many people in financial hardship; perpetuating stressful living conditions, alcohol consumption and substance abuse, even resulting in new violent scenarios.  Additionally, the holidays can add to the stress with family obligations, gift buying and other holiday expectations that become pressures rather than enjoyment. Unfortunately for many, the holidays aren’t a season of merriment or peace. It can be difficult for many to navigate the hustle and bustle of heightened emotions and challenges that may culminate into violence.

Alternatives to Violence (ATV) is a non-profit organization located in Loveland that provides shelter, advocacy, education and resources for people impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking. The wide variety of free services includes emergency shelter, 24-hour victim advocates, court advocates and community education advocates. ATV can be reached 24 hours every day at (970) 669-5150. The staff is specially trained to help victims of all identifying genders in crisis find emergency shelter, connect with community services or implement a safety plan. ATV’s office staff can help guide survivors on how to obtain skills and work their way towards long-term, independent living.

In addition to shelter and crisis intervention, ATV partners with the Loveland Police Department, other local law enforcement agencies and local hospitals to provide 24-hour crisis intervention and victim advocates at a crime scene, in the hospital, before, during and after a criminal case or to support clients with legal assistance.

ATV also works on efforts to change the stigma, stereotypes and myths about these types of violence throughout the community, while exploring different ways to reach those that might be victims.

If you suspect a friend, loved one or neighbor might be the victim of an abusive relationship watch for telling signs such as intense jealousy, controlling or humiliating behavior. When confronting the victim, do not be judgmental. Let the person know you are there to help and listen. Offer ways to assist with their daily routine. Stress the importance of self-care and getting out to seeing family and friends. If the person admits to being in an abusive situation, encourage him/her to seek legal intervention, counseling or shelter. Whatever the person chooses to do it’s important to remain supportive, to let that person know you are there for them so they will continue to trust you.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault or human trafficking, please give Alternatives to Violence a call at (970) 669-5150. If you would like to help, and are interested in either volunteering or donating money or much-needed items, please visit alternativestoviolence.org.

Alternatives to Violence is able help those in need in our community because of the generosity of the community. It is the grants, in-kind and monetary donations from business partners and individuals that help to keep our doors open and our phone lines on. We are greatly appreciative for living in such a caring community.

October 13th, 2020 by ATV Staff

TALKING CHALK IN PICTURES

Efforts of each and every kind
We seek and find in an artist's mind.
There beneath each and every step we walk
For us to gawk and talk of chalk.

Spectacle spate on slate set at our feet,
Upon concrete sidewalk, not asphalt street.
All of which is seen and heard;
I direct pen, to ink each inkling word.

Chalkers of all ages and sizes
From which and who a talent rises.
Bowed and bent 'neath sun or shade
Over pearls of pictures gladly made.

Beautiful people with beautiful purpose,
A written rhyme for each pictured surface.
With pen to play with phrases in combinations
To honor your artistic articulations.

Throng thrilled as it parades;
Oohs and ahs, administered accolades
Behold this smattering of smearing
To extol with cheering or pensive peering.

All, under this late summer sky
For to know and wonder why.
This, a needed created place.
Pictures depict each special space.

- Anonymous
(September 2020)

Debunking Myths About Domestic Violence

August 29th, 2020 by ATV Staff

There are many myths and misconceptions about domestic violence. We shared many of them this month on Facebook. In case you missed any of them, we’ve compiled them here. Of course, this is not an all-inclusive list, but many of the most popular ones.

Myth: Abuse takes place because of drugs and alcohol Substance abuse does not cause domestic violence. While alcohol and domestic violence are frequently paired, it is never the sole reason behind it. It may increase the level of violence or it may be used as an excuse for the violence, but it is not the cause. Learn more here.

Myth: Abused victims can just leave Leaving is more complicated than it seems. There are many factors that prevent victims from leaving. Reasons may include financial restrictions, children, pets, social pressures or religious beliefs. Aside from danger, you can find a list of many reasons why people stay in abusive relationships here.

Myth: Domestic violence only happens among poor, minorities or in rural areas. Domestic violence does not recognize class or race. It happens throughout all levels of society, income and geographic locations. Stats don't really show the true prevalence of domestic violence among middle and upper class. Such women often stay quiet out of social concerns or have the means to stay in a hotel, not needing shelter services, from which statistics are often derived. Learn more here.

Myth: Domestic violence only affects women According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Learn more here.

Myth: Domestic violence is only physical Abuse is not only physical but can be verbal or emotional too. Abuse can be controlling leaving victims fearful and without liberties. Abusers may also make threats against personal property and pets. Learn some of the signs of non-physical abuse here.

Myth: Domestic violence is a private matter We have a community responsibility to help one another. If you or someone you know needs help, please call Alternatives to Violence at (970) 669-5150.

How to Help Victims of Violence During the COVID-19 Outbreak

March 23rd, 2020 by ATV Staff
Photo credit: Freepik.com

We live in a remarkably giving community. That hasn’t been better proven than during these confusing and scary times as new cases of people infected with COVID-19 are surfacing. Victims of violence are some of the most vulnerable members in our community right now. As supporters of ATV, you know that being at home isn’t a safe haven for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Many of you have reached out asking how to help. Here are just a few ways to help someone in need right now.

  • Don’t text–call. A voice often offers much more comfort than a text. Plus, a friend in need may be more likely to express concerns and emotions in an actual verbal conversation. You may even be able to detect if there is something wrong talking or Face Timing a friend.
  • Encourage them to act fast: For victims who are still healthy or not yet in quarantine status, encourage them to move while they can–either to a friend’s house or shelter. Staying at home may become more violent as time goes by.
  • Practice self-care: Initiate a little shared girl time, even if it’s online. Encourage your friend to think about their well being, whether that’s doing a free online yoga class or a facial. Keeping occupied and maintaining good wellness habits is important.
  • Drop off necessities: It is very likely that an abusive partner will withhold necessities like hand sanitizer as a form of power or control. Offer to pick up essentials for your friend and personally deliver them to ensure they’ve been received.
  • SUPPORT VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE BY SUPPORTING ATV! As we try to navigate the challenges we have been faced with during the COVID-19 outbreak, ATV is doing all we can to be there for those who need us most right now. The cancellation of the Purple Ribbon Breakfast is a great loss of revenue. We are uncertain on how to plan for even the next few weeks ahead. If you are able, please make a donation to ATV. However small, every bit of help is needed right now. It is so important that we maintain our shelter and 24-hour crisis hotline. So many people are looking to us for guidance and support. We are grateful for your consideration and generosity.

DONATE HERE

Terms Commonly Used When Discussing Domestic Violence

February 10th, 2020 by ATV Staff

Engaging in a conversation about domestic violence can be emotional and daunting. The language used may be unfamiliar to most people outside of the advocacy or legal world, making the conversation that much more uncomfortable. We thought it would be helpful and beneficial to create more ease when discussing domestic violence by sharing the definitions of some of the most commonly used phrases.

Advocate: A trained professional or volunteer working for a non-profit or government-based domestic violence victim-witness advocate program.

Abuser: A person who uses abusive tactics and behavior to exert power and control over another person with whom the abuser is in an intimate, dating or family relationship.

Case Management: The coordination of services on behalf of an individual by an advocate.

Civil Protection Order (CPO): A court order that usually requires a respondent to stay away from and have no contact with the petitioner and directs the respondent not to commit any criminal offense against the petitioner. The order can also specify terms of custody, require the respondent to vacate the household and/or order the respondent to relinquish firearms or other property. CPOs are in effect for a period of one year and can be extended or modified by a judge.

Continuance: A judge can reschedule the case to a later hearing date; if there is a Temporary Protection Order (TPO) it can usually be extended until that date. Even if a case is continued, the petitioner must appear at every court date so that the case is not dismissed.

Domestic Violence: A pattern of behavior in which one individual attempts to exert power and control over another individual in a current or former intimate relationship.

Depositions: Pretrial proceedings in which attorneys for parties in a civil case have the opportunity to examine, under oath, the opposing parties and potential witnesses in the case. Depositions are sworn and reduced to writing. The transcripts may be admissible in evidence at trials if the witnesses are no longer available.

Isolation: When one person uses friends, family and social networks to establish and maintain power and control over a victim. Examples include, but are not limited to: controlling where a victim goes, who s/he talks to, what s/he wears, and/or who s/he sees, limiting involvement in places of worship, PTA and other social networks.

Lethality Assessment: An analysis done by an advocate or law enforcement officer to determine the level of risk of homicide for a victim of domestic violence based on recent and changing behaviors of the batterer.

Perpetrator: A person carrying out domestic violence behaviors.

Protection Order: The general term for an order issued by the Court mandating a batterer to not contact, harass or come within a certain distance of the petitioner and/or other persons named in the order.

Safety Plan: A plan, verbal or written, a victim of domestic violence creates with an advocate. The plan consists of action steps a victim can take to keep her/his children safe when violence takes place or to stop violence from happening.

Trauma Informed Care: Promotes a culture of safety, empowerment and healing. It means treating the whole person, taking into account past trauma and the resulting coping mechanisms when attempting to understand behaviors and treat the patient.

Stalking: When one person pursues, follows or harasses another person against her/his wishes. Examples include, but are not limited to: repeated, unwanted phone calls, following a victim, sending unwanted gifts, destroying or vandalizing a victim’s property, repeated threats and/or tracking a victim’s online activity. 

Vicarious Trauma: The impact of exposure to extreme events experienced by another person resulting in the listener feeling overwhelmed by the trauma or triggering the listener’s own past trauma(s).

Source: DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “Commonly Used Terms in Cases Involving Domestic Violence”