By Susan Simons
The victims are most often women, children and the elderly. However, abusers are victims of their own rage, the family is torn apart, employers are affected, and the community becomes involved in the form of hospitals, police forces, schools, and social services.
The FBI reports that a woman is beaten in the U. S. every nine seconds by her husband or boyfriend. One-fourth of all murders occur within the family. Over one million children and one-half million elderly are victims of abuse and neglect.
Help is available to the people of Huerfano County. Advocates Against Domestic Assault (AADA) is an organization that began in Trinidad in 1983 and extended its services to Huerfano County in 2004. Right now, the organization has just lost its office space in St. Mary Catholic Church in Walsenburg and is looking for an inexpensive space as a home base. In the future, they would like to buy a house in Walsenburg just as they have in Trinidad.
AADA’s location in Trinidad houses their offices as well as secure lodging for up to 60 days. They provide all the support and services needed by someone who is temporarily away from home. Core services include the following: 24 hour crisis line, crisis intervention, domestic abuse counseling, support groups, case management, information and referrals, parenting, children′s programs, assistance with housing, advocacy, legal advocacy, transportation and emergency shelter.
All of AADA′s services are available in both counties at no cost. The first step is to call AADA at 719-738-0770 on weekdays from 8-5 or call the crisis line at 719-738-1600 after 5 pm or on weekends (or call 911 in an emergency). Staff or trained volunteers will answer.
An advocate will answer the crisis line 24 hours a day. The advocate will listen, help to think through the situation, and make some suggestions. If the caller must leave the situation, the advocate will meet that person at a hospital or at the police and take the person to safe lodging. A victim can spend up to 60 days in the safe house while deciding what steps are next. The contact person in Huerfano County is Josephine Trujillo.
Anyone who would like to be involved in AADA as a volunteer or would like to know more should call the Walsenburg office at 738-0770. AADA encourages anyone who is in an abusive relationship to please call. All of our services are free of charge and confidential. Call even if it is only to talk to someone. If you or someone you know needs information or assistance, please call.