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Local funds increase for domestic violence victims

Following the receipt of $2 million in federal appropriations, the 17th Judicial District of Adams and Broomfield Counties unveiled the newly formed High-Risk Domestic Violence Team during a press conference on Monday.

Domestic violence victims now have somewhere to turn for help.

Following the receipt of $2 million in federal appropriations, the 17th Judicial District of Adams and Broomfield Counties unveiled the newly formed High-Risk Domestic Violence Team during a press conference on Monday.

The High-Risk Domestic Violence Team will lend support to victims and prevent interpersonal situations from escalating. 

“By creating this wraparound service, this is going to be a model for the nation to do the same,” District Attorney Brian Mason said. “That's going to help millions around the country, starting right here in Adams County.”

The team combines members of law enforcement, judicial systems and area service providers to offer support for victims of domestic violence and their children.

Mason said the pilot program is already in practice in Thornton and Brighton, and based on recently awarded federal funding would now be expanded into Adams and Broomfield counties.

“Getting the grant wasn't any big deal,” Congressmember Ed Perlmutter said. “What you're doing is a service that this community really appreciates.”

To potentially engage victims, the team of police responding to domestic disputes use a risk-assessment tool to determine if an incident survivor is deemed to be high-risk. Victims meeting the criteria and their children are assisted through the process with services such as temporary housing, legal assistance, mental health treatment and school support for children.

Thornton Police Chief Terrence Gordon said forming a partnership was crucial to better serve victims of domestic violence. 

“If there's any one agency or advocacy group that sets out to solve the problem with domestic and intimate partner violence they've already failed because we can't do it alone,” he said.

During his nearly three decades in law enforcement, Gordon said two intractable issues have not responded to traditional criminal justice efforts.

“One of those is addiction and the other is domestic violence,” Gordan said.

“In public policy we often forget about the victims. I hope that we can maintain this level of focus because the victims, their families and their children deserve nothing less.”

Ideally, Gordon said the initiative would empower victims to take more control of their lives and break the cycle of violence.

“True solutions for many other things within our communities can be found in the principles of this initiative that we're highlighting today,” he said.

The long term goal is to establish a Family Justice Center to serve as a central point for survivor support and services.

“That's true collaboration by dedicated system partners, providing the necessary resources to treat the whole person to strengthen and stabilize families,” Gordan stated.

Adams County Commissioner Emma Pinter said an inaugural meeting would be held after the press conference on Monday.

“Our room is full today for victims of intimate partner violence,” she said. “This funding will provide more resources to help better coordinate across the 17th Judicial District and provide more access to residents in need.

Pinter said the human services team would make sure anyone experiencing intimate partner violence has a plan moving forward. 

Highlighting the ongoing work with Denver-based nonprofit Family Tree to address child abuse, domestic violence and homelessness, Pinter emphasized that victims have options.

“We will find you options and we will work together to find you more options if the options we have are not sufficient,” she stated.

Pinter reported that from January 2021 through last month Family Tree has processed 252 domestic violence calls and provided 438 nights in shelters to Adams County residents experiencing intimate partner violence.

“If you are a man or a woman, you are a person facing intimate partner violence and we will find you a safe place to be,” she said.

“For the past year there's been collaborative work,” Family Tree CEO Scott Shields said. “It’s important for these partners to come together and bring all of our services and expertise to bear because we can't do it alone.”