Every two minutes, someone becomes a victim of sexual assault

Between 50 percent and 90 percent of sexual assaults or rapes are not reported to police.

Lafayette’s Pam Frey is just one of millions of faces of sexual assault – one of the most underreported crimes in the nation.

Every two minutes, someone becomes a victim, according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization 2007 Survey.

What’s more astonishing, Lafayette Assistant District Attorney Keith Stutes said, is the number of people who admit to being, directly or indirectly, affected by sexual assault.

“You can conduct a poll in any setting, and you would be amazed by how many individuals … how many families go through something so traumatic like this,” he said.

Misty Noble-Hodge, resource center coordinator for the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault, has spent years compiling a statewide database of sexual assault.

The Office of Community Services, housed under the state’s Department of Social Services, had 1,038 confirmed cases of child sexual abuse in 2007, according to her findings.

In the city of Lafayette, 68 forcible rapes were reported to the FBI in 2007.

Anne Cunningham, education coordinator for Stuller Place, said social workers interview more than 400 victims from Lafayette and surrounding parishes every year.

Stuller Place, a local nonprofit organization for sexual abuse victims, also serves about 500 men, women and children yearly. Mostly women and children come, Cunningham said.

Judy Benitez, executive director of the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault, said the sad truth is people walk around blind to something that happens right in front of them so often.

“People think it does not happen where they live,” Benitez said. “It happens in your neighborhood. It happens in my neighborhood. It happens everywhere.

Pam Frey shows no outward signs of the trauma of repeated sexual abuse by a family member through her childhood years.

But she knows sexual abuse victims don’t wear one certain face.

“To think that this only happens to a few people,” she said shaking her head, “that’s not true. The saddest thing is there are so many of us. We are the people you sit next to in church. We are the people that you see in the grocery stores. We are the people that you meet every day, but may never know it.”

Stuller Place therapist Lisa Mount said “the stranger in a dark alley is not a real common occurrence” when it comes to sexual offenders.

About 90 percent to 95 percent of the sexual assault victims know their offenders in some way.

This familiarity factor, Mount said, is what makes the crime more prevalent because the offenders often have access to and a built-in trust with their victims.

In her 25 years of studying specifically child sexual assault offenders, UL psychology professor Valanne MacGyvers has found two categories of them – chronic and situational.

Chronic offenders are those repeat offenders who can affect up to 200 to 300 children throughout their lifetimes if they are not caught or reported, she said.

Situational offenders are one-time or rare offenders who commit the crime under the strain of certain situations.

“This happens sometimes when the mother of a family is very ill, and the father maybe turns to his older daughter for that type of attention even though it is wrong,” she said.

Female offenders are rare, MacGyvers said, but they exist.

Most perpetrators, MacGyvers said, were victims at one point in their lives.

But it’s not true that most victims become offenders, she said contesting many myths.

Benitez said remembering that offenders don’t all look or act the same is the first step to parents teaching their kids about sexual assault. Simply teaching them prevention methods are the most effective.

“People tend to try to teach their children to recognize an offender,” Benitez said. “Nobody can recognize an offender. They look just like everyone else.”

SEXUAL ASSAULTS BY THE NUMBERS

Every two minutes, someone becomes a victim of sexual assault.

The Louisiana Office of Community Services, housed under the state’s Department of Social Services, had 1,038 confirmed cases of child sexual abuse in 2007.

Between 50 percent and 90 percent of sexual assaults or rapes are not reported to police.

Published in: on June 14, 2009 at 4:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

John Andrew Brooks- Repeat Sex Offender – won’t follow the rules – Prevention

A registered sex offender was arrested Saturday for allegedly violating parole after he was found near the Red Bluff River Park playground, police said today.

John Andrew Brooks, 50, was arrested during a law enforcement sweep targeting sex offenders, police said.

Officers said they had targeted 20 sex offenders who live in the city.

Of those 20, officers contacted 11 at their homes. Seven residential searches were performed during the enforcement sweep, which was funded by a federal Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) grant.

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”

………Sarah Tofte

Oklahoma Senate champions child safety

Children at risk of becoming victims of child molesters deserve the most extreme protection government can provide.

OKLAHOMA CITY — On what was to have been the final day of the 2009 session of the Oklahoma Legislature, Sen. Jay Paul Gumm and Rep. Joe Dorman succeeded in their session-long effort to make children safer in their own neighborhoods, according to a press release.

The lawmakers had worked all session to pass legislation that prevents registered sex offenders from being ice cream truck vendors. While the measure enjoyed unanimous support in the Oklahoma Senate, a committee chair in the House of Representatives continually blocked the proposal.

“I never understood the opposition to this common-sense proposal,” said Gumm, a Democrat from Durant. “Ice cream trucks are in countless neighborhoods in our state, and ice cream truck operators are in close contact with children — especially in the summer months. We were not about to let this proposal fall through the cracks.”

Dorman, D-Rush Springs, said the original bill was drafted in response to a number of high profile cases throughout the nation. “While we were fighting to make this idea a law, there was a frightening situation involving an ice cream truck in Chickasha near my district this very year,” he said.

The lawmakers’ ice cream vendor language was added to Senate Bill 1020, a bill to strengthen state laws on domestic violence and increase penalties for child pornography. On Friday, both the Senate and House of Representative gave final approval to bill – unanimously in the Senate and overwhelmingly in the House. It is now on Governor Henry’s desk.

If signed into law, the bill would criminalize the operation of ice cream trucks by sex offenders, with a punishment of up to two and a half years in prison and/or a fine. Further, the measure requires ice cream vending companies to search the sex offender database to determine if any employees are convicted offenders.

The company would be required to keep proof of the search. Upon discovering any employee is violating the law, the company would be required to contact the district attorney with that information.

“We have to take every potential precaution in our effort to protect children from predators,” Gumm said. “It would have been irresponsible to simply wait until a tragedy occurs in our own back yard before we addressed the issue.

“I’m relieved that we were able to reach an agreement and close this loophole; passage of this law allows Oklahoma parents and children to rest easier.”

The lawmakers expressed gratitude to Sen. Jonathan Nichols, R-Norman, and Rep. Randy Terrill, R-Moore, who agreed to add the proposal to SB 1020.

“Both Jonathan and Randy looked beyond partisan politics and helped pass a bill that will keep children safer,” said Gumm. “This bill shows what we can accomplish when the power of ideas triumphs over partisan concerns. I appreciate their essential help on this important bill.”

Dorman also expressed gratitude to his fellow legislators for passing the measure. “As lawmakers, we have a responsibility to make our state a safe place for the most vulnerable members of our society,” he said. “I’m pleased that members of the Legislature recognized the need to be proactive on this issue and eliminate a dangerous risk.”

The language approved Friday also got positive reviews from the ice cream vending industry. Chris T. Long, legislative chairperson with the International Association of Ice Cream Vendors, said the measure should be considered a national model for the issue.

“In the end, I believe your final draft…should be presented as a model bill on this issue in the future,” he wrote in a letter to Gumm. “With your permission, I will be archiving this bill so that it can be presented to other states, cities, or municipalities in the future.”

If signed into law, SB 1020 would take effect July 1. Governor Henry has 15 days following the adjournment of the session to pass judgment on the bill. The session is expected to adjourn by May 27.

We send this clear message to child molesters: You are not welcome in Oklahoma, and if you dare harm our children, we will find you, prosecute you and punish you to the fullest extent of the law.

Published in: on May 26, 2009 at 3:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

UK to issue public crime maps

Crime victims will be able to see what happened to criminals who preyed on their neighbourhood in a new online service being planned by the Government.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw will on Wednesday announce plans for sentences handed down in court to go on the web which the public will be able to trace to their local areas.

It means residents being able to see which burglars, muggers and other criminals targeted their homes and streets and what punishment they were given.

Officials hope to link the facility to the crime map websites, which police forces already provide allowing the public to see what crimes were committed in their immediate area.

A Whitehall source said: “The Green Paper outlines proposals for the ways in which communities will be provided information about crimes in their local areas which most interest and affect them.”

However crime maps have already been criticised for the inconsistency in quality from one force to another, while some civil liberty groups are likely to be concerned about publishing details of offenders online and the risk of vigilante attacks.

They have also been criticised for potentially allowing criminals to identify target areas while chartered surveyors said they could cause house prices to fall in the worst-hit areas.

The move is part of a range of measures to be unveiled today to get the public more engaged in the criminal justice system and restore its battered reputation.

Other plans include the establishment of “community prosecutors” where senior crown prosecutors in local areas will liaise with the police over the biggest crime issues while also being given a higher profile so the public know who they are.

There will also be “justice pioneer” areas which will pilot specific community justice programmes.

The Ministry of Justice green paper aims follows a report by the Government’s crime and justice advisor, Louise Casey, last year which warned Britain was becoming a ‘walk on by’ society where law-abiding citizens are unwilling to help victims of violent crime.

The report said people had lost faith in the system and warned crime could ‘strangle whole neighbourhoods’ if the problem was not addressed.

It first raised the prospect of crime maps, which were launched just months later, as well as shaming criminals by publishing their names and pictures on the internet.

Another proposal, making criminals wear high visibility clothing while carrying out community punishments has also already been implemented, as has giving the public a say in what the nature of what some community punishment work should be.

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”
………Sarah Tofte

Published in: on May 20, 2009 at 1:28 pm  Leave a Comment