October 2015 – Save the Dates

As summer slowly comes to a close we look forward to the community events that will pack our calendars during October:


Run for Peace 5K



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May is Older Americans Month

The 2015 Older Americans Month theme is Get into the Act.

Each year, the month of May is proclaimed Older Americans Month throughout the nation. The Administration on Aging develops a theme for Older Americans Month and disseminates the theme to the entire aging network. Each year the President signs a proclamation regarding Older Americans Month in celebration of the achievements and contributions of the nation’s older persons.  Happy-Older-Americans-Month

The Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas, Inc. pays tribute to seniors each year during the month of May and affirms the skills & accomplishments of the older Americans residing in Pasco & Pinellas Counties. Many activities take place during this celebration month and local municipalities are asked to enact resolutions or proclamations declaring support for Older Americans month.

AAA PinellasOlder Americans Month provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of community engagement as a tool for enhancing the well being of older adults. Now is the time to Get into the Act to make the benefits of community living a reality for more older Americans. Together we can promote healthy aging, increase community involvement for older adults, and tackle important issues like the prevention of elder abuse.



For logos, more posters and collateral materials please visit the ACL website: Older Americans Month 2015

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Does Homelessness Play a Role in Sexual Violence?

 As SAAM 2015 comes to a close we challenge ourselves and our communities to take a closer look at factors contributing to sexual violence and ask . . . how can we be a part of change?

I'm saying no moreFor years research has outlined risk factors like:

  • Alcohol use
  • Prior victimization
  • Poverty
  • If attending college or university, factors such as:
    • Sorority membership
    • Lower age and academic year

Have we focused on the factor of homelessness?

housing & sv 2 The first 48 hours of homelessness are critical.  Vulnerabilities, stress and depression increase as youth begin assessing survival  options.  1 in 3 will be targeted and lured into prostitution.

Are we awareness of these vulnerable populations and risks?  Are we doing focused, surgical outreach?  What do our efforts look like?

Each city or town has teenage runaways.  Ever city or town has ‘frequent’ runaways.  Do we adequately connect with this population and their parents/guardians to assess the contributing factors of running?  Do our recovery interviews contain questions specific to concerns of sexual violence, human trafficking and prostitution?

Consider this:    52% of all sexual assaults occur where the victims lives.  Would you want to call that place home?

Many homeless LGBT youth (46%) housing & svrun  after being rejected because of their gender identity and/or sexual orientation.  If we are asking the appropriate questions during the recovery interview . . . what options are we providing for a safer outcome tomorrow?

Encourage your community, your police department, your SART Team, your faith-based community to include mindful questions focused on sexual violence into all conversations with youth at-risk of running and recovered youth.

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How to Report a Rape in Pinellas County

As a survivor you do have choices.

 (1)  You can call 9-1-1 and have law enforcement respond to your location or you can travel to the nearest police department.

  • They will investigate the criminal complaint ~ the necessary first step toward prosecution
  • Assist you with getting a SAVE (sexual assault victim examination) – a forensic (evidence based) medical exam
  • Link you with supportive services (advocacy, counseling, support)
  • Inform you of your options and rights as a crime victim

rape crisis center(2)  You can call the 24/7 Rape Crisis Hotline at (727) 530-rape (7273) or dial 2-1-1 from any phone in Pinellas County.

  • They will assist you with scheduling a SAVE (sexual assault victim examination) without police involvement
  • Link you with supportive services (advocacy, counseling, support)
  • Inform you of your options and rights as a survivor
  • You can have a SAVE without involving law enforcement and then report to them at a later date if you change your mind.  The SAVE Team will securely store any evidence of your exam for 90 days.

If you are unsure about involving law enforcement in your situation (for whatever reason), please consider calling the rape crisis hotline and having a SAVE.  This process includes:

  • Checking your injuries
  • Testing for sexually transmitted diseases
  • Collecting forensic evidence
  • Testing for the presence of substances the offender might have given the victim
  • Dispensing of antibiotics to prevent sexually transmitted diseases
  • Dispensing, if requesting and medically indicated, of emergency birth control to prevent pregnancy as a result of rape
  • Crisis Counseling via a Victims’ Advocate or Rape Crisis Counselor
  • Associated follow up care including:  a follow-up medical exam; retesting for std’s; assistance in accessing appropriate financial aid for financial losses associated with the crime via Crime Victim Compensation.
  • For more information on SAVE ~ SAVE_Brochure_2013

Any victim of sexual assault is entitled to receive a free medical exam form the SAVE Team regardless if reported to law enforcement or not.  SAVE services are voluntary and available 24 hours a day.

 For more information on your rights & options ~ SVbrochure



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Charity Softball Challenge – May 2, 2015


charlie K

Bright House Networks Field: NW corner of US19 & Drew in Clearwater

3:30pm:  St Pete Police/Tarpon Springs Police vs. Clearwater Police/Largo Police

6:30pm:  Clearwater Threshers vs. Dunedin Blue Jays

Tickets are $18 – children under 4 free

Ticket price includes:  All you can eat & drink from 5pm – 8pm

Hot dogs ~ Cheeseburgers ~ Popcorn ~ Chips ~ Ice Cream Sandwiches ~ Peanuts ~ Soft Drinks ~ Bottled Water ~ $2 16 oz. draft beer

This year’s game is dedicated to the memory of 45 year old slain Tarpon Springs Police Officer Charlie Kondek and is a fundraiser for his family, including his wife and six children. The veteran officer was shot and killed December 2, 2014, after responding to a nuisance call. Officer Kondek was also a former NYPD officer.


 Event flyer:  Charity Softball Game

 Tickets available at the gate or contact: LPD Ofc. Mike Blickensdorf @

(810) 955-2237 or mblicken@largo.com

sppdbadge largo badge clearwater badgetarpon badge

One Badge, one family.

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Remembering Fallen Officers – Crime Victims & Heroes

Victim service providers work with and interact with Law Enforcement Officers on a daily basis. When a police officer dies in the line of duty, the strength and caring of the Thin Blue Line is a tangible presence in our communities.  One Badge, One Family.

During National Crime Victims’ Rights Week we are shining a bright line on C.O.P.S. – Concerns of Police Survivors. Each year, between 140 and 160 officers are killed in the line of duty and their families and co-workers are left to cope with the tragic loss. C.O.P.S. provides resources to help them rebuild their shattered lives. There is no membership fee to join C.O.P.S., for the price paid is already too high.  cops logoOrganized in 1984 with 110 individual members, today C.O.P.S. membership is over 30,000 families. Members include spouses, children, parents, siblings, significant others, and affected co-workers of officers killed in the line of duty.

C.O.P.S. programs for survivors include:

  • The National Police Survivors’ Conference – held each May during National Police Week
  • Scholarships
  • Peer-support at the national, state, and local levels
  • C.O.P.S. Kids counseling reimbursement program
  • C.O.P.S. Kids Summer Camp
  • C.O.P.S. Teens Outward Bound experience for young adults
  • Special retreats for spouses, parents, siblings, adult children, in-laws and co-workers
  • Trial and parole support

In West Central Florida we have a chapter that focuses on the needs of a 9 county area.  Cindy Roberts is the chapter President (813) 713-1756  / http://www.wcfcops.org


C.O.P.S. knows that a survivor’s level of distress is directly affected by the agency’s response to the tragedy. There is a commitment to  training and assistance to law enforcement agencies nationwide on how to respond to the tragic loss of a member of the law enforcement profession.  Among other things, COPS addresses the emotional, financial, and legal needs of families.  They are available to provide training to law enforcement agencies on survivor victimization issues and provides public outreach and awareness on behalf of law enforcement and the families of fallen officers.

black badge

We encourage every Law Enforcement Agency to have a plan in place and supportive partnering agencies ready to assist should loss touch your agency.

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National Crime Victims’ Rights Week 2015

This National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, we reaffirm our commitment to creating a victim service and criminal justice response that assists all victims of crime and to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation for those community members, victim service providers, and criminal justice professionals who are committed to improving our response to all victims of crime so that they may find relevant assistance, support, justice, and peace.  http://www.ovc.gov/ncvrw2015

vrw button

NCVRW honors and celebrates the achievements of the past thirty years in securing rights, protections, and services for victims.  The bipartisan Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), passed by Congress in 1984, created a national fund to ease victims’ suffering.  Financed by fines and penalties paid by offenders, the Crime Victims Fund supports victim assistance and local services, such as:
  • The Haven of RCS
    • CASA
    • The Victim Advocate at the Sixth Judicial Circuit
    • Suncoast Center, Inc. (Pinellas County Rape Crisis Program)
As well as programs that pay victims’ out-of-pocket expenses such as counseling, funeral expenses, and lost wages. VOCA has also pioneered support efforts for victims of once-hidden crimes such as domestic and sexual violence. Outreach is increasingly focused on previously underserved victim populations, including victims of color, religious and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ victims, and immigrant populations to name a few. Efforts are being made to ensure that all victims, regardless of their background or the crime committed against them, receive the support they deserve
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Erasing Rape Culture

A phrase coined in the 1970’s Rape Culture is a concept within feminist theory in which rape is pervasive and normalized due to societal attitudes about gender and sexuality.

Belvedere adBehaviors commonly associated with rape culture include victim blaming, sexual objectification, trivializing rape,  denial of widespread rape, or refusing to acknowledge the harm of some forms of sexual violence.  sweater ad

When a high profile case of sexual violence is in the media, it draws valuable awareness to the prevalence of rape, but it also showcases myths and misconceptions. It speaks volumes to the prevalence of rape culture.

Still need some more examples?

The following statements are made up of contributions from #RapeCultureIsWhen  as well as personal stories of survivors with the courage to speak out:

  • . . .  survivors who come forward are asked, “Were you drinking?”
  • . . . survivors who come forward are asked, “What were you wearing?”
  • . . . we teach women how to not get raped, instead of teaching men not to rape.
  • . . . the lyrics of Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ mirror the words of actual rapists and is still the #1 song in the country.  shame
  • . . . when cyberbullies take pictures of sexual assaults and harass their victims online after the fact, which in the cases of Audrie Pott and Rehtaeh Parsons tragically ended in their suicides.
  • . . . in 31 states, rapists can legally sue for child custody if the rape results in pregnancy.
  • . . . college campus advisers tasked with supporting the student body, shame survivors who report their rapes. (Annie Clark, a campus activist, says an administrator at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill told her when she reported her rape, “Well… Rape is like football, if you look back on the game, and you’re the quarterback, Annie… is there anything you would have done differently?”)
  • Rape culture is when colleges are more concerned with getting sued by assailants than in supporting survivors.

never the victims faultWhat can you do to end rape culture? NSVRC encourages us to stop asking who, what, when, where and why. Supporting survivors means replacing these questions with listening, empathy and empowerment. This is one small step everyone has the power to take to create a better world for us all.

Be the change.

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Volunteers: Passion. Action. Impact.

National Volunteer Week, April 12-18, 2015, is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. It’s about demonstrating to the nation that by working together, we have the fortitude to meet our challenges and accomplish our goals.

nvw3It’s about taking action and encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change – discovering and actively demonstrating their collective power to make a difference.

Multiple agencies throughout Pinellas County who serve survivors benefit from the efforts of thousands of volunteers, here are few examples:

Volunteers (VIPs) at the Largo Police Department not only assist Officers on the road with traffic direction, parking enforcement and special events, they provide crucial administrative support to the records, supply and advocacy sections.  The city estimates that volunteers save Largo  approximately $250,000 each year.
Largo volunteers

At The Haven of RCS volunteers assist survivors with the paperwork for injunctions for protection, court accompaniment, special ‘done in a day’ projects, and a host of client-specific services at the shelter and outreach.   http://www.rcspinellas.org/haven

RCS logoAt the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office members of the Sheriffs Volunteer Patrol work side by side with deputy sheriffs and perform a variety of valuable services for our citizens and visitors to Pinellas County. Some of these responsibilities include transporting found property, directing traffic at special events or around disabled vehicles, conducting vacation home checks and much more.  Through their Volunteers in Partnership program VIPs can potentially work anywhere in the agency providing a valuable service to Sheriff’s Office staff – and at a great savings to taxpayers. A background check and other testing may be required.  http://www.pcsoweb.com

pcsoThe Parent Aide Program offers a unique volunteer opportunity at Suncoast Center, Inc.  Based on the National Exchange Club Foundation’s Parent Aide Model, this preventative service provides peer-to-peer counseling and mentoring in the areas of parents eduction, emotional support, home management, support groups and referrals to additional resources and child development workshops.  Aide’s offer home visits and other forms of contact to help and emotionally support the needs of the children and family.  http://www.suncoastcenter.org/  family

We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give ~  Winston Churchill

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April Is Time For Action

no more

Why? Because 1 in 5 women is a survivor of rape, and 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men have experienced some form of sexual violence in their lives. NO MORE. 


April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). Learn how you can be part of the solution and say #NOMORE to sexual assault.

activist for change

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