Stay "in-the-know" about Ralston House and learn what you can do to make a difference in your community to help prevent child abuse.
The BIG Picture
If you're #HashtagSavvy, this is for you. Be careful with the hashtags that you use to describe your photographs in your posts on social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) as they can be used by perpetrators to sift through the many photos online for specific photos (e.g., bath time photos, etc.). Let's not make it easier for perpetrators to view the content that they're looking for.
Though we cannot quantify the cost of trauma for a child who has been subjected to abuse; in experiences, emotional, mental or spiritual impact, the actual costs were tentatively quantified recently, in 2015, that the total economic burden in this country is approximately $9.3 billion.
Keeping up with your kids on their social media apps and on their electronic devices is a workout for parents and caregivers. Here are some parenting apps to help keep an eye on what your kids are doing online. Even if you can trust your kids online and on electronic devices, can you trust 'the other guy'?
Construction is underway at Ralston House in Northglenn. Tune in on Mondays on Facebook for updates on the Northglenn site expansion. We're at @RalstonHouse on Facebook!
Ralston House is on target to interview more than 1,400 children in 2018.
GOOD Vibes + BAD Vibes
GOOD: In May, David Weekley Homes selected Ralston House to donate their time, talent, and energy to help repair, refinish, and revitalize our Lakewood site. Their subcontractors and team members refinished our hardwood floors, replaced carpet in our children's playroom, parent room, interview rooms, victim advocate and forensic interviewer offices. They also enlisted their subcontractors' help to build a privacy fence along our property, removing old fencing, tree stumps, and disintegrating railroad ties, and pouring and installing a sidewalk to connect Ralston House's property to each of our neighbors, balancing our HVAC, building cabinets for our recording equipment and installing light fixtures ... just to name a few. Thank you David Weekley Homes for your generosity!
BAD: Human trafficking is real. And it's in our community. Last year, sex trafficking led the types of trafficking most prevalent in Colorado, with 28% of those trafficked being under age 18 years old. Ralston House works with the Human Trafficking Task Force to address human trafficking in our community (*humantraffickinghotline.org).
Each month, we ask a question. This month, we ask Victim Advocate Misty Horton, and Deputy District Attorney Christian Gardner-Wood about the work they do to address human trafficking.
24% more survivors of human trafficking reached out to hotlines for help in 2016 over 2015.
Who are the victims of Human Trafficking?
Trafficking victims come from all walks of life. From poverty and drug addiction to affluent, well-educated suburban households. It is, and has been a myth that crime, especially Human Trafficking, only comes from poor inner city areas. What is most important when thinking about children that are vulnerable or have run away is that they are running from something, not running to this life of commercial sexual exploitation.
We have seen victims of all ages. However, a strong prevention approach taken in Jefferson and Gilpin counties is to identify high risk juveniles who are at risk for exploitation and therefore many investigations and prosecutions
regarding Human Trafficking have involved juvenile victims.
It's important to note that Human Trafficking isn't just sex trafficking; it's labor trafficking too. Anyone who is vulnerable is at risk of being exploited. If someone doesn't have a place to sleep at night or who doesn't have a VISA, they are at risk of being exploited.
What measures are set up to address Human Trafficking in Colorado
Statewide, there is the Human Trafficking Council that is a diverse group of more than 30 people that come together every month to address the problem of HT and develop best practices for prevention, prosecution, and victim support.
What is Ralston House's role in combating Human Trafficking
Ralston HOuse, in conjunction with law enforcement, the District Attorney's office, human services and victim advocates, works together on a Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) to identify and establish resources for those at risk of being trafficked. Resources that we work to provide those at risk include therapy and services to help with recovery if needed.
Don Moseley, our Executive Director is a part of the Colorado Council on Human Trafficking, while I am a member of the Jefferson County Human Trafficking Sub-Committee. Ralston House interviews victims of Human Trafficking and high-risk youth and through victim advocacy, we work to help them be children again. We work to help high risk victims to connect to long term resources.
What are some resources we can access to learn more?
The Polaris Project is a great resource for those who are seeking additional information. The presentations that they do in schools is great. Also, The Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking, or known simply as, The Lab is also a great resource. They're a non-profit that works to connect government agencies.
What can we do to stop Human Trafficking?
Community awareness goes a long way to addressing the problem of Human Trafficking. Many times, people will say that they didn't know that Human Trafficking was happening in their community and are surprised when they find out it is happening right here in Jefferson, Gilpin, Adams and Broomfield counties. Once people realize that Human Trafficking occurs, they can be proactive in reporting concerning behavior. As always, if you see something say something.
Further, community partnerships and collaborations are key to addressing this problem. A key example of this collaboration is the partnership that exists between Ralston House, the District Attorney's Office, Law Enforcement and Human Services to combat Human Trafficking.
A huge piece that is piece that is missing from the Human Trafficking conversation are the people who buy sex. We talk about pimps a lot and we talk about the victims a lot. But rarely do we talk about how we can affect change by educating ourselves and our community on the perils and ramifications of buying sex.
Get Out + DO
Learn: Rocky Mountain PBS News conducted a report on human trafficking right here in Colorado. Watch this news report for more information. If you suspect a child is being abused, call 1-844-CO-4-KIDS. It is our responsibility to keep children safe.
Get Involved: Darkness to Light shares, as your child gets older, you won't always be in the room with them at their doctor's appointments. Help your child navigate these solo medical visits safe and comfortably.
Listen: Tips on how to navigate television and your teens from our friends at Wheat Ridge Police Department. Season 2 of "13 Reasons Why" has just been released on Netflix. It's a series about suicide. Keep an open line of communication between you and your teen if they've seen the show. Open communication can help reduce misinterpretations and helps facilitate healthy conversations about your child's thoughts and feelings. Here are some additional talking points.