LAKEWOOD, CO – Governor Jared Polis today signed two bills into law that will provide $48 million to crime victims services programs and create a grant program to prevent and address identity-based violence.
SB22-183, sponsored by Senators Faith Winter and Bob Gardner and Representatives Monica Duran and Mike Weissman, provides $48 million to fill a revenue gap in federal funding and expand programs for crime victims to continue providing lifesaving resources for child and adult victims of crime.
“During the pandemic we saw an alarming rise in cases of domestic violence,” said Senator Faith Winter, D-Westminster. “With this investment of American Rescue Plan funding, we will better support victims of domestic violence and ensure Coloradans in need never see an interruption in the essential care and services they rely on. I’m pleased to see this bill get signed into law, and I know it will go a long way in providing victims of crime and domestic violence with the services they need.”
“The pandemic has led to an increase in domestic violence and other crimes, making the services these programs offer more critical than ever,” said Rep. Monica Duran, D-Wheat Ridge. “As a survivor of domestic violence myself, I’m dedicated to making sure survivors of crime receive the support and resources they need to get back on their feet, and this major $48 million investment will make a huge difference for victims across the state.”
“Colorado is stepping up to fund programs that provide critical services to victims of crime so that no one is left behind in the worst moments of their lives,” said Rep. Mike Weissman, D-Aurora. “The legislation Governor Polis signed today will help some of the most vulnerable people in Colorado move forward, and it will fund critical outreach efforts to help survivors get the assistance they need and prevent domestic violence.”
The law invests $41 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds into programs assisting crime victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, including $6 million according to recommendations from the Behavioral Health Transformational Task Force. SB22-183 additionally invests $7 million in General Fund dollars to two programs providing services to crime victims. These investments will ensure essential services for victims can continue for the next four years.
HB22-1234, sponsored by Representatives Jennifer Bacon and Dafna Michaelson Jenet and Senator Robert Rodriguez, creates a grant program in the Division of Criminal Justice in the Department of Public Safety to prevent identity-based violence.
“Communities of color and religious minorities are far too often the targets of terrorism and violence, and threats are only increasing,” said Rep. Jennifer Bacon, D-Denver. “The tragedy in Buffalo shows just how dangerous these racist ideologies are and the pressing need to do more to make our communities safer. This new legislation creates a grant program to help prevent acts of identity-based violence, and will bring people together to protect communities from bias-motivated crimes and build a safer Colorado.”
“We’ve seen a growing number of threats and violence targeted at specific communities across our state, and it must come to an end,” said Senator Robert Rodriguez, D-Denver. “I am proud to have championed this new law that will give communities, nonprofits, and law enforcement the tools they need to prevent these types of crimes, and help ensure that everyone feels safe and secure in their community.”
“With antisemitism on the rise and identity-motivated crimes increasing, we must redouble our efforts to ensure the safety of every community in Colorado,” said Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City. “This new grant program will fund proven strategies and bring people together to prevent and solve the serious crimes that reverberate throughout our communities and disrupt our safety.”
The grants will focus on building strong communities and preventing acts of violence that target a specific population of people, and on building awareness of these crimes to prevent them from happening in the first place. The law positions law enforcement to develop the strategies needed to solve serious crimes that have widespread ramifications on a community’s sense of safety. This includes projects that strengthen local collaboration and capabilities to prevent and intervene in identity-based violence.
The law is supported by the Department of Public Safety, One Colorado, the Anti-Defamation League of the Mountain States, Counterterrorism Education Learning Lab, the Center on Colfax, Out Boulder County and other organizations.