TESSA IN THE NEWS
CFA Investigation: District attorney says domestic violence victims need more protection
“When it comes to protecting domestic violence victims, El Paso County is behind the rest of the state. Our local district attorney says we need to make a change.”
Colorado Springs community leaders working to end culture of domestic violence
“Community leaders gathered Thursday to answer a question that plagues too many Colorado Springs families: How do we stop domestic violence?
Alarming figures were repeatedly recited – city police respond to up to 40 calls of domestic abuse daily; local domestic violence resource TESSA is called to aid about 10,000 victims in El Paso and Teller counties annually; one in four women and one in seven men will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.”
TESSA hosts Champions of Change Summit, aims to prevent domestic violence & sexual assault
“Stopping domestic violence in our community is a huge task. So community leaders are meeting to figure out ways to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault in Colorado Springs. It’s being hosted by TESSA, a non-profit which works to help victims.”
TESSA introduces new initiatives to provide legal help, housing for domestic violence survivors
“A local nonprofit organization is expanding its services to better help domestic violence victims escape their abusers.
TESSA, which serves survivors of domestic and sexual violence in El Paso and Teller counties, unveiled two new programs on Wednesday: one to put families displaced by domestic violence in new homes and another to hire lawyers to secure protective orders for victims who can’t afford legal help.”
TESSA celebrates 40th anniversary with debut of three new initiatives
“TESSA, an organization that provides a safe haven for victims of domestic violence, celebrated its 40th anniversary Wednesday with three new initiatives. Mayor John Suthers joined County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, district attorney Dan May and others to make the announcements.”
THE LATEST FROM TESSA
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS PROTECTED BY NEW LAW
HB1322 Takes Effect Today, TESSA Applauds Bill Protecting Victims’ Confidentiality
August 9, 2017
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. – Domestic violence victims in Colorado now have the right to make decisions about the help and services they receive.
Colorado was one of the few states that required doctors to report all domestic violence injuries to law enforcement, regardless of their patients’ wishes. As HB1322 takes effect today, those laws will contain important exceptions. Doctors will no longer be required to report these injuries in some situations, taking into consideration the sensitive nature of a victim coming forward about what has happened to them.
“One of the most important things to remember when working with victims of domestic violence is that only they fully understand their situation,” said TESSA Executive Director SherryLynn Boyles. “Only a victim will know whether or not their abuser would be likely to retaliate if law enforcement gets involved. This new law acknowledges that, meaning victims can seek the healthcare services they need with less fear of retribution.”
Under HB1322, doctors are not required to report injuries believed to be the result of domestic violence if the patient is between 18 and 70 years old, is not an at-risk adult, and has indicated their preference that the injury not be reported. However, doctors will still need to report injuries resulting from gun shots, stabbings, and other incidents resulting in serious bodily injury.
TESSA is optimistic that this will eliminate some of the unintended consequences of well-intended reporting laws.
“Reporting violence is not the end of a victim’s situation, it is the first step in creating a supportive criminal justice response and the beginning of a long recovery process,” Boyles said. “Victims need to be able to receive health care for their injuries while maintaining the autonomy to decide what they need and when they need it. HB1322 will accomplish just that for many victims.”
Regardless of whether a victim’s injury is reported, HB1322 requires doctors to either refer patients to a confidential victim’s advocate, like the advocates at TESSA, or the doctor can simply provide a victim with information about available services. TESSA is able to provide brochures to doctors and hospitals upon request. However, the suggested best practice would be to help a victim call TESSA’s 24/7, completely confidential hotline at 719-633-3819 to speak directly to an advocate.
TESSA serves 10,000 victims of domestic and sexual violence in El Paso and Teller Counties each year, and also works within the community to end the violence.