Many divorces begin because of domestic violence. In Colorado Springs, an organization called TESSA provides help to victims.
Domestic Violence Statistics
Countrywide, there is an average of 20 people a minute abused by an intimate partner. While women are more often the victim, the numbers tell a striking tale of near equality in this dismal statistic, with 33% of women and 25% of men being victims. In 2014 alone, Coloradans reported over 16,000 instances of domestic violence. That same year, a survey of domestic violence programs showed that on a given day, over 1,000 people sought assistance for a domestic violence incident. Further, in 2016, the murder rate in Denver increased, fueled by a spike in domestic related violence killings. In short, domestic violence remains an ongoing and potentially deadly problem.
Local Assistance Available
In Colorado Springs, there are several agencies that can help victims of domestic violence. One of the most well-known is TESSA. TESSA has been around since 1977 and was created “in response to a high rate of calls to local law enforcement from women threatened or assaulted by their partners. TESSA currently provides assistance to more than 10,000 people a year.
TESSA provides three primary services, including 1) immediate safety at their confidential Safehouse for women, children, and other victims escaping abuse; 2) advocacy and counseling; and 3) a safer future through Education and Outreach to schools, businesses, and other organizations.
One of the areas in which TESSA provides advocacy is through assistance with temporary and permanent protection orders. Assistance with temporary protection orders is through their “Victim Advocacy” program, while permanent orders are handled through their “Project LIFT” program. According to TESSA, “[o]nce a client becomes a part of Project LIFT, the assigned attorney will meet with the client, and then represent that client at their PPO hearing.” Project LIFT has already passed its initial goal of representing 125 victims and continues to grow. If someone needs help securing a temporary protection order first, “TESSA’s Victim Advocates can assist with that process.” What this means is, even if you cannot afford an attorney to assist you, you do not have to go the process alone. This is critical as a TESSA contracted attorney can walk you through the process and help you at the hearings to provide the information to the judge necessary to secure a protection order for you and any children you might have.
As noted above, TESSA also offers housing. This can occur in two stages. If needed, the first is TESSA’s Safehouse. “TESSA’s Safehouse provides emergency shelter, food, case management, counseling, and support to female survivors and their children. The Safehouse Program can provide short-term safe shelter vouchers for local hotels to male victims and their children.” From there, one can transition to the Housing First program, which “allows TESSA to establish long-term solutions for victims who need permanent housing . . ..” Put simply, TESSA provides an array of services that can help victims of domestic violence get their lives back. If you are the victim of domestic violence and need to speak to someone, TESSA is a great resource.