DENVER — Domestic violence can be a hard topic to discuss, but there are people and organizations ready to help when needed.
"Advocates that work at community-based programs such as SafeHouse Denver are able to speak confidentially with survivors of domestic violence. So, survivors of domestic violence actually have privilege with us,” SafeHouse Denver Director of Counseling and Advocacy Abby Hansen said.
Hansen and her colleagues guide and support victims of domestic abuse at SafeHouse Denver.
“We are a community-based nonprofit organization that provides a full continuum of supportive services for survivors of domestic violence. We have a residential component where we provide emergency confidential domestic violence shelter,” Hansen said.
Throughout the pandemic, the organization has seen an increase in cases.
“I think it has to do with access. So perpetrators right now have much more access to their victims. The kinds of assaults that are being reported to the Denver Police Department are particularly egregious,” Hansen said.
Denver Police responded to 11 domestic violence-related homicides from the beginning of the year until September 30.
The most recent occurred Monday night in southeast Denver. Police said a man shot a teenage girl and a man before taking his own life. During the incident, the suspect dropped a baby who is now in critical condition.
"Anytime there is domestic abuse, there is the potential for a homicide. It is a potentially lethal situation every single time. This is a serious issue. So supporting survivors and their attempts to gain access to safety, physical safety, and emotional safety is always important,” Hansen said.
Hansen said it often takes several times for victims to leave an abuser. Victims often avoid police and attorneys. That's where SafeHouse Denver comes in to help victims become survivors.
“I encourage survivors, family members, community members, faith-based community members--please reach out if you are thinking that a family or an individual is struggling,” Hansen said.
SafeHouse Denver supports both men and women experiencing domestic violence and/or abuse. SafeHouse not only provides a listening ear, but a safe and confidential shelter for those trying to escape. If you or someone you know needs assistance, you can call (303)318-9989.
“I want people to know that it is critically important to listen to survivors and believe survivors,” Hansen said.
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