Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Dealing with Veteran PTSD During the Holidays

Families of veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and California veterans benefits lawyers know that the symptoms of this condition are often aggravated during the holiday season. Holidays mean more entertaining and exposure to more people, placing veterans in a situation that they don't often feel equipped to handle well.

One of the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder is a gradual social alienation or withdrawal from social company. It is difficult to avoid company during the holidays, which makes this time a trying one for veterans as well as their families. Typically, symptoms of depression are aggravated during holidays, when everybody around you expects cheerfulness and joy.

Veterans also find that it's difficult for others to understand their condition during the holidays, when everybody is in high spirits and not willing to speak of depression, bad moods, or any of the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder. Additionally, veterans who have not found a job after returning from combat duty may find the holidays especially stressful because of financial problems. This only aggravates the feelings of inadequacy and overall negativity that a veteran with post traumatic stress disorder struggles with.

Families of persons who suffer from PTSD must be especially careful around the holidays, and look out for a flare-up of symptoms. It's also important to be compassionate at this time, and to understand that the veteran wants to avoid social company. A person who suffers from PTSD may also want to avoid large crowds, and keep celebrations limited to small groups only.

Families also need to understand that small things can trigger symptoms of PTSD. For instance, a sudden greeting or a slap on the back can take the veteran right back to the scene of combat. Additionally, family members must also understand that drug and alcohol abuse risks for veterans with PTSD increase during the holidays. Think of other ways to celebrate the holidays with a veteran, like volunteering at a local homeless shelter.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Parents Often Miss Classic Signs of Sexual Predators

Parents of 3 girls who were molested by an Illinois school district and Peoria City employee have filed a $3 million claim against both the school and the city, alleging that officials failed to act on warning signs about the predator. The employee, Mark Johnstone who was convicted 2 years ago is currently in prison, serving a 19-year sentence for child molestation and attempted child molestation. This case illustrates how easy it can be for potential sexual predators to continue their abuse unchecked.

Johnstone worked as a groundskeeper at an elementary school, and also worked part-time to help run the city's summer recreation program. According to authorities, he had a clean background, and did well at both his jobs. His job reviews were very good. However, unknown to parents and school and city officials, he was also molesting young girls.

Questions about his behavior were first raised by young male students, who were aware of his preference for young girls. He often brought little girls gifts, and made them sit on his lap while he gave them candy. However, parents were only alerted to his behavior in June and August 2007, during the summer program when he allegedly molested a young girl in the copy room. Other incidents were reported during field trips with students. One of the parents reported these incidents to police in August 2007, and by then, parents had already raised concerns about his behavior with school officials.

Several city officials also had concerns about Johnstone’s behavior. Johnstone resigned from the school district in May 2007, but continued working with the city's summer program. He was placed on administrative leave from the city in September after the city received a complaint from a parent, alleging molestation of a child in August 2007. Now in their sexual abuse claim, the parents allege that the city and school district had enough information about the molestation, and took little action to prevent it.

Unfortunately, California sexual abuse lawyers often find examples of such behavior. A sexual predator takes a long time to ingratiate himself or herself into a community, and makes efforts to give people the impression that he/she is far from the type of person who would harm young children. Once predators have gained the trust of the community, they find it less likely that people will be inclined to believe complaints of sexual abuse against them. Parents, caregivers and schools however, must be quick to act on signs of inappropriate behavior as soon as these are reported.