Legislation directs $3 million toward crime victim services
DENVER, CO – The House today passed legislation to prioritize and support Colorado’s victims of crime. HB23-1107 provides funding to services and program that support crime survivors, including survivors of domestic and sexual assault. SB23-193 improves crime victim notification services.
“As the need for survivor resources and assistance surges in Colorado, we are committed to allocating funding toward critical services that support survivors,” said Majority Leader Monica Duran, D-Wheat Ridge. “For a time in my life, I wasn’t safe in my own home, and as I dealt with the displacement and hardship with a young son in tow, community-based programs like these helped me get back on my feet. Deaths from domestic violence are rising in Colorado – we need to do everything we can to fund the programs survivors rely upon.”
HB23-1107, sponsored by Majority Leader Monica Duran and Assistant Minority Leader Rose Pugliese, passed the House by a vote of 62 to 3. This bill designates $3 million to the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program inside the Department of Human Services. This program directly funds community based domestic violence and sexual assault programs statewide. These programs provide critical services for victims and survivors of crime including shelter, counseling, forensic interviews and prosecution support.
Agencies that assist survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, as well as victims of crime have experienced a drastic increase in the number of individuals requiring services. The Colorado Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board’s report revealed an increase in domestic violence deaths in 2021 and domestic violence deaths are at an all-time high since Colorado began tracking this information in 2016.
“The state of Colorado needs to prioritize the concerns and voices of crime survivors, and this legislation was drafted with them in mind,” said Rep. Mike Weissman, D-Aurora. “This bipartisan bill improves survivor notifications regarding offenders’ release from parole, adding a new notice where one is not currently provided under our Victim Rights Act. This legislation also directs that notices are easy-to-read for better awareness and protection of survivors of crimes."
SB23-193, sponsored by Representatives Mike Weissman and Assistant Minority Leader Rose Pugliese, passed the House unanimously. This bill aims to prioritize survivors by setting the offender’s release date for parole 15 days after providing notice to the victim. This bill would require the Department of Corrections (DOC) and any other state or local government agency, to provide survivor notifications in easy-to-understand language, using recommendations from victim advocates.
If the victim chose to receive notifications, SB23-193 would work to improve communications between the DOC and survivors by giving them advanced notice of their offender’s parole release, in addition to their offender's discharge, transfer, escape, abscondence, unauthorized absence, or parole proceeding.