Saturday, January 29, 2011

What's more important? Protecting innocent children and adults, or the images of our community leaders?

© (2011) by Vicki Polin


This is one my all time favorite songs.  I hate to tell you how many time it plays in my head, especially when working with the establishment in the orthodox world when trying to help Jewish survivors of sexual abuse/assault. 

The game playing sickens me so much. Why is it that so many rabbis connected to bet dins (Jewish religious courts), believe that orthodox children do not deserve the same rights and protections as non-orthodox children?

The only way things will change is when the vast number orthodox rabbis care more about child and adult survivors then they do about their own images and assets.  I hate to say it, yet as long as communities give away their own personal power various rabbis will continue to play havoc on so many peoples lives.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Every Parent, Grandparent, Aunt and Uncle need to watch this!

STRANGER DANGER - CHILD ABDUCTIONS : Would Anyone Help Your Child When Being Abducted?

NBC TODAY - the Today Show - Security Specialist Bill Stanton

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Random sample of 1835 mid-pregnant Jewish women was recruited in Israel - Child sexual abuse: is it a risk factor for pregnancy?


Child sexual abuse: is it a risk factor for pregnancy?


yampolsky l., lev-wiesel r. & ben-zion i.z.(2010) Child sexual abuse: is it a risk factor for pregnancy? Journal of Advanced Nursing66(9), 2025–2037.


Abstract

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study of the relationship of post-traumatic stress symptoms, depression, and health status to high risk pregnancy status in survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
Background.  Studies examining the long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse have delineated diverse psychological, cognitive, and social difficulties in adult survivors that often manifest somatically.
Methods.  A random sample of 1835 mid-pregnant Jewish women was recruited in Israel over an 18-month period in 2005–2007. Participants were divided into three sub-groups consisting of the different combinations between pregnancy at risk (yes/no), childhood sexual abuse (yes/no), other than childhood sexual abuse trauma (yes no), and no trauma (yes/no). They completed a self-administered questionnaire consisting of five scales: a demographic variables scale, the Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Scale, Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, Traumatic Events Questionnaire, and Childhood Sexual Experiences Scale.
Findings.  Pregnant survivors of childhood sexual abuse suffered higher distress levels which heightened poor health, hence increasing the probability of high risk pregnancy compared to women who had had other than sexual abuse trauma or reported no trauma. Post traumatic stress symptoms and avoidance (a sub-category) were found to explain chronic illnesses, whereas depression was found to explain gynecological problems in pregnant sexually-abused survivors.
Conclusion.  Healthcare workers need to recognize and address the psychological state of pregnant child sexual abuse survivors. Screening of pregnant women for child sexual abuse is needed to assess survivors’ psychological well-being and recognize their unique concerns during pregnancy monitoring.

There's no more room under the rug

There's no more room under the rug
 By Michael J. Salamon, Phd
The Awareness Center's Daily Newsletter - Janurary 20, 2011

In 1996 Dr. Ira Sacker, a physician who specializes in treating eating disorders, reported that in the ultra-Orthodox communities of Brooklyn as many as one in 19 girls was diagnosed with an eating disorder. At first blush this may not seem high, but in fact it is about 50 percent higher than the rate found in the general population. Just a few weeks ago Dr. Yael Leiter, of the University of Haifa, said that Israel has one of the highest rates of eating disorders in the world. This rate is in no small measure due to the seriously elevated numbers of women in the Orthodox world who suffer with this problem.

In 1998 an epidemiological survey done by the State of Israel reported that substance abuse was just as prevalent among unaffiliated teens as Orthodox and Charedi ones. In 2002 a Doctoral dissertation that I was involved with found that teenage males in a yeshiva in the New York area had high rates of stress and used illegal substances to alleviate the pressures they felt. The rates of abuse were apparently not much different than those in the general population.

Studies of Orthodox Jewish teens’ physical abilities have shown that because of the limited time they have for recreational activities and the general frowning upon of organized sports after the age of bar mitzvah, most teens have bone calcium levels well below the acceptable amount and higher stress levels than their non-religious counterparts. A study recently performed at Bar-Ilan University found that religious teenagers are more likely than their peers to suffer from significant anxiety and self-loathing when they confront their developing sexuality. While the researchers struck a balance between the appropriate understanding of adolescent development and the needs of teens to learn to control their urges, they were just as clear in stating that the “scare tactics used in the religious public” only exacerbates the fears from which these teens suffer.

And if these findings were not enough, demographers studying the Jewish landscape in the United States have found that in a cohort measured in the 1990s Orthodox Jews retained only about 42 percent of those born into Orthodox families. Rates of Orthodox affiliation are bolstered by gaining new adherents and by a higher birthrate than other Jewish groups, but Orthodoxy remains essentially stagnant at about 10 percent of Jewish Americans.

While there are many anecdotal reports and some small general surveys I have not come across any definitive studies about the dropout rates from Orthodox religion. Nevertheless what is available suggests that, particularly for teenagers, the tenants of Orthodoxy are too stress-provoking and rely on creating fear rather than love for religious understanding and practice. When they are feeling stressed they have no avenues to help them cope with their anxieties. Interestingly, kiruv organizations know this and approach people not with threats and fear but with warmth and acceptance to draw them in.

In the last few weeks we have been confronted with the issues of bans. In a particularly spot-on piece, this newspaper found out the true underlying cause for the ban against the news website Vosizneias.com. Initially, we thought that the ban was based on a specific political issue. Turns out, we were right, but it wasn’t the issue we thought. The ban did not involve a politician and those linked with him. Rather it involved the definition of “shmutz.” When there are attempts by community leaders to convince federal prosecutors to let a convicted sex offender go free, the community should know about it. Only one website addressed the issue, albeit without using names. Apparently, someone thought that Vosizneias’s reporting of information — that could very well be helpful in protecting members of the community — was inappropriate.

There is no doubt that many in the Orthodox community are unwilling to take a public stance against abuse of any kind. This staunch position is still predicated on the mistaken assumption that if we keep it quiet, or if we handle it in our own way, our community will be better served. Ever so slowly we see rabbinic leaders speaking out against sexual abuse but then along comes this ban. It appears that we have yet to learn that the more we hide the more free reign abusers have. Young people seem to inherently understand this. They know that you can only hide so much under the rug before it becomes a stumbling block. Unfortunately, this creates a terrible conflict for them. The research shows that if you speak with teens you will find they are conflicted about many issues, but because of an environment of fear they cannot discuss their experiences and needs. Luckily, many find someone in the community they can talk to and trust. 

Unfortunately, far too many do not and turn to self-destructive behaviors. These are the ones who are prone toward being victimized and in some measure ultimately drop out. We should do more to protect them. I would urge us to reconsider the bans — often garbage has to be put out at the curb and carted away.

Dr. Salamon, a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, is the founder and director of ADC Psychological Services in Hewlett, NY and a Board member of The Awareness Center. He is the author of numerous articles and several psychological tests. His recent books include, The Shidduch Crisis: Causes and Cures, published by Urim Publications and Every Pot Has a Cover: A Proven Guide to Finding, Keeping and Enhancing the Ideal Relationship, published by Rowman & Littlefield. His new book on Abuse will be available March, 2011.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

CALL TO ACTION: Israeli Judges claim excessive media attention may reduce ex-President Moshe Katsav rape sentence.

Pictured is Judges Miriam Sokolov, George Kara and Yehudit (Judith) Shevah
CALL TO ACTION: Israeli Judges claim excessive media attention may reduce ex-President Moshe Katsav rape sentence.

LET YOUR VOICES BE HEARD:  
Tell Israeli Judges George Kara, Miriam Sokolov and Yehudit (Judith) Shevah the world is watching.  Let them know one rape is one to many no matter who the rapist is, or how much media attention the case gets.  Let them know the world is watching and we do not want the world to see that Israel is soft on sex offenders.

CONTACT INFORMATION:
Hebrew site

English address Coming soon

============================
Excessive media coverage may reduce Katsav rape sentence, judges say
In the full transcript of the former president's verdict, judges demonstrate a clear mistrust of Katsav's version, criticizing his evasive and confrontational style.

By Ofra Edelman
Haaretz - Jan. 16, 2011

The massive media coverage which surrounded the rape trial of former President Moshe Katsav may lead to a reduction of his sentence, the publication of Katsav's full verdict revealed on Sunday.

The Tel Aviv District Court's conviction was announced at the end of December, but only part of the verdict was made public. Katsav was convicted on two counts of rape, indecent assault and other sexual offenses.

In the verdict, the residing judges severely criticized the media for holding a "drumhead court-martial" to the former president, adding that while the coverage would not annul the verdict altogether, it may weigh in favor of the defense in its attempt to reduce Katsav's yet-to-be-delivered sentence.

"We do not ignore the mental anguish the defendant suffered as a result of the infinite flux of harsh publications released against him through the media and which had declared him a sex offender prior to his trial," judges George Kara, Miriam Sokolov and Yehudit Shevah wrote in their verdict.

The judges issued severe criticism of the Israeli media, saying that "lines were crossed in an unprecedented manner" in regard to the Katsav affair, adding, however, that the former president was at fault as well.

"The defendant took on the same modus operandi utilized against him, and began shooting poisonous arrows at those he considered to be seeking his injury," the judges wrote.

In the newly published full verdict, the judges quoted past rulings which recognized the court's ability to take the defense's abuse of process claim into account when weighing a sentence.

The verdict continued, stating, "The court may rule that the harm caused to the defendant, although not sufficient to justify total annulment of the indictment, may be grounds for dropping specific charges or reducing his [Katsav's] punishment in the event of conviction."

Katsav trial judges also quoted an article written by former Haaretz legal writer, the late Prof. Ze'ev Segal and judge Avi Zamir, stating that the court could take the lack of decency and justice into consideration when sentencing the defendant.

The conduct of former Attorney General Menachem Mazuz was also scrutinized in the verdict, who was chastised for expressing his opinion regarding Katsav's behavior before he had decided whether or not to indict.

Key witnesses and public figures are also the target of the judges' criticism saying they "gave interviews 'upon the hills and under every luxuriant tree,' [in an excessive manner] while confidently declaring the defendant's guilt."

On Thursday the district court panel of judges ruled that the additional details that Katsav wanted released were liable to seriously violate A.'s privacy and could potentially lead to the disclosure of the identity of another complainant whose allegations were barred by the statute of limitations.

Katsav had requested that nothing other than details identifying the complainants be removed, claiming that any further omissions would result in a failure to present the full picture of the court proceedings.

The judges said the disclosure of the information may deter rape victims from filing complaints in the future. They further added that this was what led them to refuse a public trial.

The court did not, however, recognize the privilege that A. from the Tourism Ministry sought to invoke regarding other details in the verdict, saying that this was not a serious violation of her privacy.

Judges on Katsav: Confrontational and untrustworthy

While the full verdict does not change the tone or general attitude of the briefer version published two weeks ago, it does provide a great deal more detail regarding Katsav's conduct toward employees, including quotes by both victims and corroborating witnesses.

The verdict is surprisingly depleted of quotes from Katsav's testimony because the request that the court publish his full testimony is still pending.

Writing of Katsav's testimony, the judges wrote in their verdict the it could "not serve as a basis to determine findings," saying the former president's version was "unauthentic and insincere."

"[Katsav's testimony] was tainted with a confrontational attitude toward the accuser's representatives and by selective interpretation of both the witnesses' accounts and the evidence," the judges said, adding that his testimony "seemed more like an analysis of the evidence than the recollections of a person who wishes to give honest testimony as someone who experienced the events first hand and could testify from his heart on the horrible wrong done to him."

The judges went on to say that the "defendant demonstrated a miraculous memory in matters that could aid him in his defense, and with a lack of recollection in matters which could potentially implicate him."

Katsav was also noted for his "eloquent speech, adept at navigating words and expressions, like someone who can blow hot and cold wind at the same time.

When speaking of his confrontational style, the judges said the former president responded with "aggression, slander, and false accusations at whomever dared say anything that did not meet his expectations."

"His answers were verbose and long, drifting toward irrelevant and distant issues, despite repeated remarks made by both the court and his defense team," the judges remarked.

In general, the verdict reflected a complete trust in the victims' version combined with an almost complete distrust of Katsav's testimony. While Katsav is chastised for every inconsistency in his testimony, the judges treated the victims with forgiveness and understanding."

When referring to the main witness, A of the Ministry of Tourism, the judges wrote that they were under the impression that she did not "tell a tall tale, and her account was of a victim of sexual assault," adding that A "was not wily or sophisticated."

"She is naïve and innocent, prone to pleasing her environment and respecting authority," the judges wrote.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Tamar's Story

"Tamar" asked that her story be shared in hopes of helping other survivors who might have a similar experience.  Her name and other identifying details have been changed to protect her identity.


 Several months ago "Tamar" contacted The Awareness Center looking for help.  During the initial conversation she disclosed that she was an incest survivor, who at one time was a baal teshuva (returnee to the Torah observant lifestyle). 

Tamar shared that she started becoming observant at the age of fourteen, after going to an orthodox synagogue with a friend she met at a local JCC.  


As Tamar started learning and taking on various mitzvah's,  and after several months of asking -- her parents finally agreed to let her study at a yeshiva in another state, which was remarkable since her parents were not observant. 

Tamar said she thrived in her new community.  She loved being amongst other frum Jews, up until a few years ago.  Everything changed after a rabbi friend decided to fix her up with one of his cousins. 

At first Tamar was concerned about who the rabbi wanted to fix her up with.  "Epharim" was several years older then her, yet the rabbi really thought that they would make a great couple -- especially since Tamar was getting close to her 30th birthday, which was considered old for a single woman in the orthodox world.  Fearing she would never find a husband, she agreed to meet Ephraim.

Tamar's car broke down earlier in the day of her date with Ephraim.   One of Tamar's friends agreed to dropped her off at a local restaurant and was going to pick her up once Tamar's date was over.  

The date went well and Ephraim offered to give her a ride home.  Tamar agreed.  Unfortunately, Ephraim had other plans.  He said he had to drop something off at friends home, and asked if Tamar would mind going for a brief ride.  She thought it would be OK.  Ephraim drove to an isolated location, stopped the car and sexually assaulted Tamar.

Once Tamar got home she found herself curled up in a ball, sobbing for hours.  She didn't know what to do and was too embarrassed to call one of her friends.  She was afraid they would blame her for getting into the car with a man. 

Suddenly Tamar remembered watching a television show about rape and decided to do what she learned in the movie.  Tamar felt she had no choice but  to call 911, make a police report and have her offender prosecuted.

After learning that Tamar pressed charges against Ephraim, the matchmaking rabbi telephoned her.  In anger he told Tamar that she was "no longer welcome in the community and that it was obvious by her actions, she 

proved that she was bad news for the orthodox world". 

Tamar 's voice shook as she expressed how her whole world crumbled before her.  One by one her long time friends began rejecting her.  These were people she had known and  grown to love since her high school days.  These friends were really the closest thing she ever had to family.  Tamar went on to explain that because of the abuse that went on with her biological family, she had little contact with them in most of the 15 years she lived within the eruv (Jewish community). 

As the weeks went by, Tamar was no longer invited to friends homes for shabbat or for holidays.  She hated going outside her door and seeing how people who she once considered to be her friends, would turn their backs and shun her. 

It took Tamar eight months to save enough money to move away from the only home she really ever knew. 

Tamar's been away from her community for about two years.  To this day she has not been able to walk into synagogue from within any movement of Judaism.  Her fear is that she would  be rejected once again.

Tamar works full time and spends most of her free time working out.  She finds herself shying away from making any new friends. 

She often reflects back on her life and can no longer understand, nor connect to how at one point in her life she loved davening and doing mitzvah's.  These subjects now just brings her to tears -- and states that she feels incredibly betrayed by G-d.  


Tamar has not been able to see past the betrayal and or the denial she experienced from the community she once loved.  Tamar also shared that she toyed with the idea of converting to another faith.

Tamar has been in therapy with a rape therapist, who is not Jewish since she relocated.  She purposely chose someone who does not practice any faith -- because bringing up any form of religion or mention of a higher power has become to painful for her.  Yet from time to time Tamar had found herself "googling" the words "Jewish" and "Rape", to see what resources were out there for Jews.  Doing this is how she originally found The Awareness Center. 

Tamar shared that it took her over a year to send her first e-mail to our organization and another few months to follow it up with a phone call.  


Tamara shared that she read just about every article that was on The Awareness Center's site at least once if not twice; yet she was still too afraid to make the initial phone call because she feared we would be judgemental or reject her -- yet her desire to have some sort of Jewish connection pushed her to send her first e-mail and then followed by a call. 

Tamar asked that The Awareness Center share her story with you, because she is aware that a great deal of our web page is no longer available, nor is our ability to offer a "Friendly line" for survivors due to financial restraints.  


Tamar was hopeful  that sharing her story, that readers would realize how important it is to fund The Awareness Center.  She also is asking that each of you do your best to help save our organization from this economic slump.  

Tamar believes that by making a donation, no matter how small, will help to save other Jewish survivors, like herself from looking elsewhere for a spiritual connection.

If you would like to help The Awareness Center grow, please send your donation check to the address below, or click on our web page and then click on the donate button to show your financial support using a credit card.


The Awareness Center, Inc.
(the international Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault)
P.O. Box 4824
Skokie, IL  60076
www.theawarenesscenter.org


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Update: Case of Rabbi Israel Weingarten - Rabbis trying to free convicted sex offender

















This appears to be business and usually in the orthodox world of Brooklyn. Once again rabbis care more about the reputations of convicted sex offenders then they do of those who were sexually violated. In this case the victim was the offenders daughter. Incest is the most common form of child molestation. 46% of all cases involve a relative being the offender.    

Rumors are that several orthodox rabbis are proclaiming that Weingarten is innocent even though he was convicted in a federal court of law.  They are also attempting to raise funds to hire a top lawyer in hopes of getting him out of prison.  

Weingarten is a danger not only to the child he molested, yet to all children in whom he may come in contact with.  

The Awareness Center is asking that everyone send positive thoughts to the survivor of Weingarten.  She finally had her day in court and finally got justice for being a victim of a sex crime.  We all should be enraged that those who are supposed to be community leaders would fail us in this way.  

Yisroel Weingarten is a member of the Satmar Sect in the Orthodox Jewish community of Monsey.  He traveled with his victim from Monsey, NY to Manchester, England and Belgium. 



(Double click on article below to enlarge)




====================

by Steve Lieberman and Jonathan Bandler
The Journal News - October 7, 2008


Rabbi Israel Weingarten
Federal agents yesterday arrested a Monsey rabbi on charges of sexually abusing a female relative for nearly a decade.

Rabbi Israel Weingarten, 58, was taken out of his home in handcuffs based on an August federal grand jury indictment and arraigned on five federal counts of sexual abuse in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.
Weingarten, a divorced father of eight, pleaded not guilty before Magistrate Judge Joan M. Azrack. The judge ordered the rabbi held without bail in federal lockup. He is due in court Oct. 21.

The indictment charges Weingarten with having sex with the girl starting in 1990, when she was 9 years old, and ending about nine years later. The woman is now 28.

Weingarten is accused of sexually abusing the girl on a weekly and sometimes daily basis during that period of time, in Belgium, Israel and the United States, according to a detention memo filed with the court by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Brooklyn.

"He moved her to different countries in order to continue the abuse and to escape any threat that he would be apprehended as word of his abuse began to spread," U.S. Attorney Benton Campbell wrote.
"He has resorted to threats and violence to intimidate those who tried to protect the victim and other members of his family," Campbell wrote.

Weingarten's lawyer, Kenneth Gribetz of New City, said yesterday that the sexual abuse charges resulted from his client's bitter religious divorce about three years ago. He said the most recent sexual abuse allegations were about a decade old.

Gribetz said Rockland Family Court Judge Margaret Garvey and Rockland Child Protective Services cleared Weingarten. Gribetz said Weingarten was given custody of six of the couple's eight children. Those six children range in age from 13 to 24.

"The charges are from a lengthy, bitter divorce that has taken place over the years from Israel to Belgium to the United States," Gribetz said. "Six of his children living with him support him."

Weingarten has taught children for the Satmar Hasidic Jewish community in the United States, Belgium, Israel and England, the documents said.

He ran a Satmar school in Belgium and taught at Satmar religious elementary and secondary schools in Brooklyn.

Weingarten is charged with five federal counts accusing him of traveling around the world to have sex with the minor and avoid being charged.

The indictment charges him with two counts of knowingly and intentionally transporting a minor in foreign commerce with the intent to engage in a sexual activity. He also is charged with three counts of knowingly and intentionally traveling in foreign commerce for the purpose of engaging in a sexual act with a minor.

If convicted at trial, Weingarten faces an estimated prison term of 168 to 210 months in prison, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrea Goldbarg and Rachel Nash argued in court papers that Weingarten represented a flight risk and was capable of intimidating witnesses.

Goldbarg told the judge that the Family Court case did not involve the victim of the charges in the indictment. Court papers accused Weingarten of hiding the children and using deceit in a Family Court custody battle.

Weingarten also has been accused of using force and deceit to prevent inquiries about his children's health, including an incident that occurred while the family lived in Kiryas Joel in Orange County.
Goldbarg said Weingarten was a "very manipulative, controlling personality" who had brainwashed his children into supporting him.

"He has demonstrated a willingness to interfere with investigations and intimidate witnesses," Goldbarg said.

The prosecution's court papers accused Weingarten of trying to kidnap the victim in England and assaulting a rabbi and his wife, who were protecting her.

Gribetz asked the judge to free Weingarten without bail or on a personal security bond, arguing his client "had no reason to flee."

Azrack said she was disturbed not only by the nature of the allegations but by Weingarten's behavior when the FBI came to his home. She said she believed he may be a danger to his own relatives.
"I'm not inclined to release him under any circumstances," the judge said. "I question how rational he is and whether he is willing to obey orders of the court."

Weingarten and six of his children refused to answer the door when FBI agents arrived to arrest him. The agents had to force their way into the house and then break down the door to a bedroom after Weingarten locked himself inside.

Gribetz suggested the brief standoff was a misunderstanding and caused partially by his client's fears and a language barrier.

Weingarten feared the men at the door were supporters of his ex-wife who had come to hurt him, Gribetz said, adding Weingarten claims he has been attacked before.

"He was even calling 911 for police to come help him," Gribetz said.

As Weingarten stood before the judge, a dozen men in Hasidic garb sat in the gallery, including Weingarten's brother and several men who said they were the rabbi's students.

Rabbi Jacob Moskowitz of Monsey said Weingarten was a "very nice person" who was well regarded as a Judaic scholar in Antwerp, Belgium, where he taught for years.

"He sits at home and doesn't hurt a fly," Moskowitz said, adding the allegations were the product of a "dirty matrimonial case."

He said Weingarten's students were so devoted to him that some had taken out mortgages to help him financially over the years as he faced allegations."He has a lot of supporters. People have a lot of sympathy for him," Moskowitz said.

Gribetz said Weingarten doesn't have any money or property to put up for any bail, even if the judge sets bond. He said his client was "in agony" about having to spend Yom Kippur in jail.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

The Amber Alert Story

Click here: for more on the Amber Alert

The AMBER Alert™ Program is a voluntary partnership between law-enforcement agencies, broadcasters, transportation agencies, and the wireless industry, to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child-abduction cases. The goal of an AMBER Alert is to instantly galvanize the entire community to assist in the search for and the safe recovery of the child.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Advocating for Rape Victims (child sexual abuse, incest, sexual assault, clergy sexual abuse)



© (2011) by Vicki Polin, MA, LCPC







It’s been wonderful and amazing to watch how so many people are jumping at the chance to help  survivors of sex crimes navigate through the justice system.  This is especially true in cloistered communities. There is one problem and that is that many of these individuals and groups lack the education and training to really do this type of work.  Though anyone can call themselves an advocate, and want to help -- a true rape victim advocate is someone who has been trained, certified by a local rape crisis center and is supervised by those who are true experts in the field.
An advocate is someone who you choose to speak for you in situations in which you don’t have the expertise to advocate for yourself.  It’s not uncommon to find someone to help advocate for you in medical and legal situations.  Yet, when someone has been sexually violated it is most likely in your best interest to find an organization or agency to help guide you through the process. 
Those involved in the anti-rape movement who advocate for survivors and work with legitimate and credible organizations have been trained utilizing multi-disciplined approach.  They are provided insights in medical, legal, cultural and mental health issues and are supervised by highly trained professional.  
Advocates are often referred to as a rape victim advocate, rape crisis counselor, advocate, or a crisis intervention counselors/advocates.
As part of the training process, advocates are screened out.  They must demonstrate a nonjudgmental, supportive attitude toward survivors of sexual violence. and must have strong interpersonal/communication skills, with a focus on empathy.
Depending on the state in which you reside, a trained advocate has gone through anywhere between a 40 - 60 hour certification training, which includes class participation, group workshops/role plays, and quizzes. These training programs are conducted by those who have already been certified and are connected to a legitimate rape crisis center.
In many states, credible advocates are also required to attend a minimum of 6 hours of continuing education session as scheduled throughout the year.
Those who successfully make it through the certification process are continuously evaluated by their supervisor, other senior team members connected to the agency or organization in which they are connected, local hospital staff, and law enforcement personnel.  The evaluation process continues through out training programs offered throughout the year.  
A credible advocacy agency also offers debriefing sessions for their advocates to help prevent burn-out, secondary post traumatic stress disorder, compassion fatigue and or vicarious victimization.  
A true anti-rape advocacy organization’s members will be committed to the philosophy of the organization: non-violence,non-oppression, and the empowerment of all victims of sexual violence.
The object of a rape victim advocates is to provide crisis intervention counseling, nonjudgmental support, medical and legal advocacy to survivors of sexual violence and their family/friends, provide proper referrals and information.
The responsibility of all rape victim advocates is to always act diplomatically and respectfully toward survivors, significant others, police, hospital staff, state's attorneys, and other advocates/staff members.  
In some organizations that meet survivors in emergency rooms, with the survivor's permission, advocates remain with the survivor throughout the medical examination, evidence collection, and police interviews. When appropriate, advocates accompany the survivor to the police station to view line-ups/mug shots and for interviews by police/prosecutors. If a case is taken to court, effort will be made for an advocate (staff) to accompany, as needed. Crisis intervention counseling also may be provided for the survivor and significant others.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Call for Resources For Jewish Survivors of Sex Crimes

Call for Resources
Jewish Survivors of Sexual Violence

The Awareness Center has a call for resources.  We are looking for professionals who Jewish survivors of sex crimes feel have been helpful to them.

We are looking for names of  rabbis, psychotherapists, Jewish outreach workers, educators; alternative holistic practitioners; medical doctors, dentists, self-help, and survivor organizations; legal and law enforcement professionals that work with and/or have experience with JEWISH SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE (adults or children). 
 
Please send an e-mail to Vicki Polin to obtain a copy of our questionnaire.  Please note that filling out this form does not insure inclusion in the directory. 
 
The Awareness Center also has a call for brief informational articles/fact sheets that will be included on our web page. Please feel free to include any information that you have written and want to submit for consideration. 
 
The Awareness Center 

Sincerely,
Vicki Polin, MA, NCC, ATR-BC, LCPC
VickiPolin@aol.com