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February 13, 2024

Bipartisan Victim Protections Legislation Passes Committee

Legislation would reduce barriers for victims of crimes and improve safety of survivors

DENVER, CO - The House Judiciary Committee today passed bipartisan legislation to increase safety for survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking, and other crimes by expanding protections around civil protection orders. HB24-1122 unanimously passed by a vote of 11-0.

“Not everyone is as lucky as my son and I were to escape their abuser, and civil protection orders are a crucial tool for survivors to escape from dangerous situations," said Majority Leader Monica Duran, D-Wheat Ridge. "Too many Coloradans live in fear of their safety every day, and they are especially vulnerable to abuse when the abuser finds out that their partner is taking steps to leave them. Our bill makes robust changes to our criminal justice system to reduce barriers and improve the safety of survivors.”

HB24-1122, also sponsored by Minority Leader Rose Pugliese, R-Colorado Springs, would increase protections for victims of domestic violence by:

  • Broadening the definition of domestic violence, changing sexual abuse to sexual violence including sexual harassment, and reframing these forms of violence as patterns of behavior rather than discreet actions,

  • Reducing reasons why a civil protection order may be denied and directing judges to make a temporary protection order permanent without requiring additional evidence of testimony from the survivor when the respondent doesn’t appear at the hearing,

  • Prohibiting a court from serving an abuser with a notice of a civil protection order unless the protection order is granted, improving the safety of victims after they take action against their abuser,

  • Including temporary care and control of any shared children in the civil protection order when requested by one of the parties and prohibiting judicial officers from redirecting survivors to file in a district court instead,

  • Prohibiting the court from hearing a motion to dismiss or modify a civil protection order if filed incorrectly,

  • Preventing survivors from paying their abuser’s attorney’s fees, and

  • Directing cell phone companies to transfer shared phone lines to the survivor’s name and control if requested with the civil protection order.

Majority Leader Duran has spearheaded pivotal legislation supporting survivors, including HB23-1222, which established standards for domestic violence cases tried in municipalities and increased data sharing, and SB22-183 which invested $48 million toward providing critical resources, programs, and support to victims of crime, including domestic violence. She has also passed laws to protect survivors of domestic violence by strengthening enforcement of requirements that certain domestic violence abusers relinquish their firearms.

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