Victims agency will get needed expansion help
It is both inspiring and troubling that Amberly's Place – the local agency that helps victims of sexual and physical assault – wants to expand its facilities.
It is inspiring because it means the agency – created in the wake of an assault on and murder of a 10-year-old Yuma girl, Amberly Mendoza – is determined to expand the services it can provide to victims.
It is troubling because it means our community continues to have many abuse victims that need help. Amberly's Place has been in operation for 11 years and in that time has helped more than 17,500 victims. In 2011 alone it helped more than 2,000 victims.
The mission of Amberly's place is to help victims deal with the trauma they have experienced and guide them through the justice system.
The assistance they give is not solely for the victims. Local law enforcement officials have consistently praised the organization. Yuma County Sheriff Ralph Ogden has called it “a godsend to all of us.”
Diane Umphress, executive directive of Amberly's Place, estimated last year that over a five-year period, local law enforcement agencies had saved more than $650,000 in salaries and overtime pay that would otherwise have been needed to deal with abuse victims.
In addition, victims often will get more understanding and caring assistance from the trained crisis response team at Amberly's Place and it will be provided in a more comfortable atmosphere than a police station or emergency room. Law officers are certainly sympathetic to the trauma of the victims, but their training is in responding to crimes and tracking down the perpetrators.
Umphress said at a recent meeting in regard to the need to expand Amberly's Place that “I know this community will make it happen.” We think she is right because there is an understanding of what an important role the agency plays in helping victims cope and recover from their experiences.