The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) is devoting $1.15 million to a new project that will benefit survivors of sexual violence, the organizations that serve survivors, and the statewide network that works to end sexual violence in Colorado. Financial support for this new Sexual Violence Services Project comes from federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) stimulus funds.
Through this new project managed by CDHS’s Domestic Violence Program (DVP), sexual violence survivors will have increased access to community-based crisis intervention and healing services. Those services include free, voluntary confidential crisis intervention, advocacy, counseling, group support, safety planning, access to community resources, support for medical appointments, and more. Sixteen community-based anti-sexual violence organizations are participating in this project and will receive funds to support these vital services. The statewide network of community organizations will be strengthened through no-cost training and technical assistance from the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the state’s lead organization with expertise on addressing sexual violence.
A 2021 survey by the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence found that 76% of sexual violence service programs reported an increase in requests for assistance since the onset of COVID-19. In response, the Colorado legislature, via Senate Bill 21-292, approved the use of stimulus funds for supporting sexual violence victim services programs. Additionally, the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) has awarded stimulus funds to Colorado specifically to support services for sexual assault survivors.
“Today is a very exciting milestone as CDHS begins funding sexual violence response services across our state for the first time,” said OCYF Director Minna Castillo Cohen. “People in Colorado who experience sexual violence deserve no-cost confidential support as they heal.”
A total of 16 community-based organizations across Colorado successfully applied for this project funding and began work on Feb. 1. Services provided by these organizations include free, voluntary confidential crisis intervention, advocacy, counseling, group support, safety planning, access to community resources, support for medical appointments, and more for survivors of sexual violence and their families.
Coloradans seeking support can visit https://youhavetherightco.org/support-services-2-2/ to find local resources, or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
DVP’s mission is to partner with communities to promote the safety and well-being of domestic and sexual violence survivors and prevent domestic and sexual violence through good stewardship of funding resources and the advancement of quality programming. Learn more on the DVP web page.