October 1, 2020 — The Colorado State Employee Assistance Program (CSEAP) recently worked in conjunction with the state Domestic Violence Program (DVP), the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP), and community stakeholders to draft a proclamation, now signed by Governor Polis, that seeks to educate our state on the continued danger that persists in many intimate relationships.
Intimate partner violence (IPV) will be experienced by nearly 33% of Coloradan women and nearly 29% of Coloradan men in their lifetimes. In addition, IPV impacts 25% of LGBTQ+ relationships - a rate similar to the occurrence in heterosexual relationships.
The current coronavirus pandemic presents unique challenges for victims of IPV and their children. It can be difficult for victims to access services when they are homebound with their perpetrators of violence. Stress associated with the pandemic — combined with limited resources and compounded by issues of racism, homophobia, transphobia, and/or discrimination based upon physical ability, age, and nationality — can keep victims isolated in dangerous situations.
In its Universal Policy addressing Workplace Violence Including Domestic Violence Affecting the Workplace, the State of Colorado as an employer identifies domestic violence and intimate partner violence as "a serious public health, safety, and policy concern for our state." While 65% of surveyed US workplaces do not have a formal policy addressing domestic violence impacting work, Colorado stakeholders are currently working to update the state Universal Policy that has been in effect since 2009. In addition, the state Domestic Violence Program offers an employer toolkit to assist state leaders, supervisors, and employees in their response to a coworker who may be experiencing intimate partner violence.
CSEAP and state advocates applaud Governor Polis’ recognition of the persisting challenges for victims and their children and the continued need for agencies, workplaces, communities, and citizens to send a clear message that intimate partner violence will not be tolerated in Colorado. Please contact Violence Free Colorado or your local domestic violence program to learn more about Domestic Violence Awareness Month activities in communities across Colorado.
CSEAP offers many thanks to the program leaders and community stakeholders involved in the creation and review of this proclamation: Rita Smith (Domestic Violence Expert), Betty Wytias (Domestic Violence Policy Advisor), Brooke Ely-Milen (Director, state Domestic Violence Program), Jacqueline Cash (Director, state Address Confidentiality Program), Linda Johnston (Project Director, Colorado District Attorneys' Council).