Senate Approves Bill to Helping Domestic Violence Victims

DENVER — Today, the Senate unanimously approved Senator John Cooke's (R-Greeley) legislation to provide victims of stalking, sex assault, and domestic violence a path to safety.

House Bill 17-1035 allows the victims of stalking, sex assault, and domestic violence to break their residential lease without penalty if they no longer feel safe. 

Current law does not provide any recourse for these victims to safely exit a dangerous living situation without threat of legal action or monetary repercussions.

HB 1035 asks victims to produce a police report, restraining order, or letter from a medical professional attesting to the crime in order to create a pathway to safety for victims.

According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men experience stalking at some point in their lives. Of those women, 81 percent were also physically abused and 31 percent were sexually assaulted. 

"I spent my career witnessing the devastation and fear that follows victims of domestic violence and sexual crimes," said Cooke. "Providing a safe path out of a dangerous situation can be the clean break these victims need to start again. We understand that not every victim, for whatever reason, wants to report the crimes against them to the police. Our first priority needs to be removing these folks from the situation."

House Bill 1035 will be heard once more on the Senate floor before continuing on to the governor's desk. 

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