Updates from Coordinated Community Response

by Anni Lampert, Advocate at HELP of Door County and Co-coordinator of the Door County Coordinated Community Response Team

May 21: Training on Strangulation and Suffocation with Miriam Falk

It’s a thing, folks. Strangulation is one of the most effective ways one person can exert coercive control over another. It conveys in very plain terms, “I have your life in my hands, and I can take you out whenever I want.” 

Here at HELP of Door County, we have observed strangulation incidents increasing the last several years, so sought out more training. We became aware of Miriam Falk, who is one of the excellent trainers on the staff of Wisconsin’s Department of Justice. She came up to conduct a training session on strangulation for our Coordinated Community Response (CCR) group, and we invited our neighbors in Brown and Kewaunee counties so they could benefit as well. 

Fifty-two law enforcement, probation and parole professionals; domestic-violence and sexual-assault advocates; prosecutors and judges; hospital personnel; and mental-health professionals learned about the signs of strangulation, how to document and investigate it, and the laws that are broken when it occurs.

Signs include a blood spot in the eye; a series of very small blood freckles on the face, scalp or in the mouth; and/or a raspy voice. Each of these signs points to a lack of oxygen to the brain or trauma to the neck.

Because of the extraordinary danger of death by strangulation, we are all safer when more people know the signs and can help to connect a victim with professional support services.

Grant Activity from the Office of Violence Against Women Abuse in Later Life 

From 2005 to 2007, the Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) funded the National Sheriffs’ Association, the National Clearinghouse on Abuse Later in Life (NCALL) and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) to create a two-day training session for front-line law enforcement about issues related to the many forms of elder abuse.

In 2011, OVW, NCALL and FLETC collaborated to revise and update that training and create a train-the-trainer component. The target audience expanded to criminal-justice professionals, governmental-agency staff members, and domestic-violence and sexual-assault advocates.

Former Attorney General Brad Schimmel wrote for and received a grant to bring this effort to Wisconsin, and Door County was chosen as one of four pilot communities, in part because our population is the oldest in the state. Having an established CCR team is a plus because the framework for collaboration among partners already exists.

Members of the Door County CCR have committed to the three-year grant cycle and will be intensely involved by becoming more educated about the dynamics of abuse later in life, by assessing local needs related to elder abuse and by becoming stronger trainers. We, in turn, will train front-line professionals in law enforcement, the judicial and corrections systems, and the health care and financial fields, all of whom interact with elders. And, hey – speaking of assessing community needs – We have a survey out right now that we would like community members who are 50-plus years old to fill out. It seeks to gauge awareness of existing help resources and to identify unmet needs. To have a copy mailed or emailed to you, contact me at [email protected] or 920.743.8785.