News briefs: Hospital lectures on tap; Agencies collaborate on domestic violence response | AspenTimes.com

News briefs: Hospital lectures on tap; Agencies collaborate on domestic violence response

Hospital lectures on tap

Aspen Valley Hospital will host a free lecture from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday with Dr. Brooke Allen, a neurologist who will discuss cognitive and memory changes in the brain that come with aging.

Allen will demonstrate a brief screening exam for mild cognitive impairment and discuss how she screens for dementia. She also will share strategies for maintaining a healthy brain as people age.

On Oct. 29, Dr. Alan Nelson, a psychiatrist, will talk about emotional maturity, touching on the topics of reality, change, life's stressors, giving versus receiving, relationships, creative and constructive outlets, and the capacity to love.

And on Nov. 5, Nelson will discuss the qualities that enable one to "bounce back" from a particularly difficult time. He will give advice on being stronger, wiser and more resilient.

Light refreshments will be served at all of the seminars.

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For more information, call 970-544-1296.

Agencies collaborate on domestic violence response

The Aspen Police Department, Basalt Police Department, Pitkin County Sheriff's Office and Snowmass Village Police Department have entered into an agreement with local nonprofit RESPONSE to create the valley's first Advocate Initiated Response referral system.

October is domestic-violence awareness month, which prompted the public-safety agencies to combine forces to help survivors of domestic violence.

One of the most stressful times in the life of a domestic-violence victim is when the criminal justice system becomes involved. Law enforcement intervention for victims may lead to fear of retaliation by the offender, loss of financial support, loss of housing stability, loss of job security, child protection and custody issues, and possible deportation of the offender.

Currently, law enforcement officers provide survivors information about RESPONSE and advise victims to contact the program. However, many victims never make contact with the program and most victims decline services when asked by law enforcement. Victims often decline services because they don't know what an advocate is, don't think they qualify for services and don't want to bother anyone. They also may feel embarrassed, guilty, hopeless, exhausted or be in denial.

Advocate Initiated Response is a program in which an officer informs the victim that a confidential advocate will be making contact and relays the victim's name and contact information to the advocacy program as soon as possible after a domestic-violence-related call. The advocacy program initiates contact with the victim as soon as possible after notification by law enforcement.

Communities currently practicing the program report increased safety for victims, ability for officers to remain focused on their role during an arrest and investigation, improved outcomes in prosecution due to victims receiving the support they need to remain engaged in the case and a decrease in trauma-related emotional and physical distress to victims due to the process of receiving confidential support.

"It is crucial that we eliminate barriers to service for victims," Aspen Police Assistant Chief Linda Consuegra said. "We know this model is working for other departments, so it makes sense to adopt it in our community." she said.

An Advocate Initiated Response agreement-signing ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. today in the Pitkin County Courthouse lobby by the steam engine.