Crime Victims

Trauma compels us to protect ourselves from threats both real and imagined; it encompasses any event that makes individuals feel their lives or the lives of someone they love are in danger. Any traumatic event represents a broad spectrum of situations that transcend race, age and socio-economic status. The complexity of trauma is why there are many terms to define it.

Today, our country has a strong support system for families of missing children. Law enforcement is better trained. We have better laws, better technology. AMBER Alerts and social media have energized the public. As a result, more of the 460,000 children reported missing to law enforcement every year come home.

As both a trauma surgeon AND police Lieutenant with the Dallas Police Department, I spend an inordinate amount of time mitigating the aftermath of violence. 

Numbering somewhat fewer than four in every 100 adults in America, individuals with severe mental illness (SMI) generate at least one in 10 calls for police service.

February 1, 2016

Research demonstrates that LGBTQ youth make up a sizeable share of the juvenile justice system. These youth are particularly vulnerable to risk factors for justice system involvement including homelessness, family instability and violence. With an estimated 20 to 40 percent of the homeless youth population identifying as LGBTQ, these youth often end up in the juvenile justice system for arrests related to survival crimes such as theft, prostitution and/or participating in the informal economy.

January 26, 2016

In 2014, one out of every six runaways reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) was likely a child sex trafficking victim. This number is up from one in seven in 2013 and one in eight in 2012. The majority of these children were in state care at the time they ran away. In 2014, of the likely child sex trafficking victims reported to NCMEC as a runaway, 68% were in the care of child welfare when they went missing.   

October 2, 2015 We don’t want to believe it is occurring, so it is difficult to acknowledge. The commercial sexual exploitation of children is a crime deeply affecting the wellbeing of our youth, but it’s also hidden from most of our citizens. According to the Polaris Project, the average age of youth entering a life of prostitution is 12-14 years old. Sadly, the victims of commercial sexual exploitation are rarely identified until after they are adults. Youth at risk for sexual exploitation span socioeconomic borders, family compositions and risk factors.

January 5, 2015 How do communities know if a certain crime is occurring? Most look for traditional data indicators such as calls for service and arrests by law enforcement. However, what if those traditional actions don’t occur? This is often the case with human trafficking. Research indicates human trafficking can be a crime hiding in our communities. Unlike traditional crime victims, human trafficking victims are modern day slaves and are victimized over and over again by their traffickers.

January 5, 2015 Human trafficking is a repugnant crime impacting communities across America. Since the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act in October, 2000, law enforcement, victim service providers and communities have developed new approaches to identify and support victims and prosecute traffickers. No one agency, acting alone, can address this crime. Traffickers can be a part of a violent gang, a sophisticated international network, an isolated cultural group, an opportunistic individual or the family members of the victim.

September 30, 2014 September marks the 20th Anniversary of the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) – landmark legislation that continues to improve the lives of women and girls throughout the nation. And yet, as the Vice President said in his recent remarks: