District Attorney Brian Mason delivered on a campaign promise when he took office in 2021 and created a Special Victims Unit in the 17th Judicial District Attorney's Office. This specialized division handles sensitive and highly complex sexual assault, human trafficking, and domestic violence cases.
The SVU is led by a Chief Deputy District Attorney, who is a foremost expert in this field, and a team of attorneys, investigators, and victim advocates who have years of experience handling sexual assault and domestic violence cases.
The victim-survivors in these cases often need a higher level of care and understanding due to their relationship to the perpetrator, the intense trauma incurred as a result of the crime, and the barriers created by this type of offense.
The 17th Judicial District Attorney's Office and District Attorney Brian Mason maintain a long-term goal of creating a Family Justice Center within our jurisdiction. The Domestic Violence High-Risk Team (detailed below) will be the foundation for the Family Justice Center. The Center will be a community-based, multi-disciplinary co-located service facility. Survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking will have the ability to access critical services in one centralized location.
The 17th Judicial District Attorney's Office is partnering with the Thornton Police Department, the Brighton Police Department, law enforcement throughout the Adams and Broomfield Counties, and other service providers, such as Family Tree and Servicios de la Raza, to create a multi-disciplinary team that will provide an enhanced response to domestic violence situations to ensure individuals are offered the appropriate resources. Officers on-scene will identify high-risk individuals experiencing domestic violence for referral to the Domestic Violence High-Risk team. The goal is to remove the silos that law enforcement, non-profits, and other government agencies sometimes operate within so information can be shared for the sake of the survivor's safety.
United States Congressmen Ed Perlmutter, Joe Neguse, and Jason Crow worked diligently in 2022 to obtain $2 million in federal appropriations to assist the 17th Judicial District Attorney's Office, our service providers, law enforcement, and
Adams County in the formation of a state-of-the-art Domestic Violence High-Risk Team. The team supports survivors and prevents the escalation of domestic violence situations that research has shown can become fatal if proper intervention and necessary
resources are not available.
The scourge of domestic violence incidents continues in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In response to this crisis, the DA's Office, law enforcement, and local service providers removed the silos that can exist within the criminal justice community to form a Domestic Violence High-Risk Team that will wrap survivors and their children in support and services to protect them from further trauma caused by relationship violence.
The team is activated when an officer on scene determines through a risk-assessment tool that the survivor of the incident falls into the high-risk category. From that point forward, the survivor and their children are supported through the entire process with access to temporary housing, legal assistance, mental health treatment, as well as school support for the children involved.
The pilot program is already underway in Thornton and Brighton and will be expanded throughout Adams County and into Broomfield County because of the funding obtained by Congressmen Perlmutter, Neguse, and Crow. The ultimate goal is the creation of a Family Justice Center that will house all of the support and services of the DVHRT in one location for survivors.
To access the live stream of the event where the DVHRT was publicly unveiled, use this link, https://www.facebook.com/da17colorado/videos/1224090725059600
To further enhance the services provided to victims, specifically those in domestic violence situations, a Victim Advocate Specialist and a Deputy District Attorney form a Fast Track team. That team's mission is to reach out to victims post-arrest and inform them of their rights pursuant to the Victim Rights Act. The Fast Track team will also offer services to the victim, discuss the court and criminal justice process in detail, as well as provide an explanation of the protection order and bond. The goal is to provide critical information and resources and minimize the amount of time a DV criminal case is pending.