RIO GRANDE COUNTY- Over the course of two days beginning Oct. 5 the Rio Grande County Sheriff’s Department and other Rio Grande County employees participated in a domestic violence training to better understand the psychological effects and the aftermath of domestic violence situations.
During the training, several law enforcement personnel from all over Colorado gathered to talk about advancements in how law enforcement and social service personnel respond to and document domestic violence cases. “We learned some very intense tactics on how we respond and record domestic violence incidences. It was a very long and insightful two days. The outcome although will be highly beneficial to our Valley-wide agencies and will help us deal with these situations in an entirely new way,” said Rio Grande County Victim’s Advocate Courtney Arthur.
The training highlighted the importance of follow-up procedures with victims and how the court system should hold offenders accountable for their actions. “One area that we struggle with is making sure the offenders are held accountable for their actions as well as receive the help they need. We hope to be able to bring this type of training to our district courts and district attorneys so that they can better understand what victims go through psychologically when they have a domestic violence situation.”
Arthur has helped bring new understanding to how victim advocacy has been handled in the county and continues to strive to protect the victims in every situation. “One thing I would like to implement from this training in our department is how we track domestic violence cases. The training provided us with several options like incident checklists, domestic violence case investigation forms and domestic violence case summary forms that we should use to help us track trends.”
“The most important thing for us here at the county sheriff’s department is that our officers are up-to-date on their training and know how to handle these situations. It can be very difficult to show up on a scene like this. Emotions are running rampant and the psychological effects of domestic violence are far reaching and sometimes difficult to understand.”
“We have to be willing to look at all of the red flags that we are taught about in our training and it’s not only us. Our courts have to understand the repercussions of domestic violence as well. Believe it or not, when a victim shows up in court for a hearing and they laugh out loud, that is a psychological response to trauma. It’s the little things like this that are so important for all of us to consider when dealing with victims of domestic violence.”
Arthur plans to continue department training for the Rio Grande Sheriff’s Department and to ensure that victims here in the Valley will get the help they need. “We have a long way to go but we are forming partnerships and working closely with other agencies here in the Valley to strengthen our response to domestic violence and to better understand victim mentality when handling cases. We are here to help and we need everyone to know that.”