This week, Petaluma’s newspaper, the Argus Courier, highlighted the work of one of our advocates who works half-time out of the Petaluma Police Department. They love her, we love her, and her clients love her, so we are so glad her work is being recognized!
[Georgina Tello] Bugarin, who works full-time for the nonprofit Verity, which operates the county’s rape crisis center, spends 20 hours a week working from the police headquarters to help victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Those cases are often difficult to navigate, entangled in complex webs of emotion and fear, Bugarin said. Though her work is a challenge, her reward comes from helping victims rediscover themselves outside of the violence that has shaped their lives.
“I’m very upset about the victims being mistreated,” said Bugarin, a 46-year-old Petaluma resident. “My main motivation is trying to give voice to those victims.”
Bugarin, a bilingual native of Guanajuato, Mexico, has worked with Petaluma police for nearly two years, though the advocate position has existed in the department since 1999. She works with an average of 22 clients each month, and is often called to the scene as officers respond to incidents, or is tasked with reaching out to victims after reports are filed.
She links victims to local resources, including shelters, clinics or counseling, and will attend court dates with victims and provide continued support. Some victims don’t return her calls or aren’t ready to move forward, Bugarin said, but she offers her services regardless.
“What I’m trying to do is tell them that I’m there for them to support whatever decision they’re going to make,” she said. “I provide information and resources and whatever they decide, I’m there for them.”
Petaluma was among the cities to recognize April 2017 as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, so we are thrilled that the awareness and attention is spreading across the county, thanks in large part to the work of Verity staff and our partner agencies! Read more here.