Sex assault reports could rise in Denver as COVID restrictions lift

Problem Solvers

DENVER (KDVR) — There’s growing concern that as public COVID-19 restrictions continue to drop the number of women reporting sexual assault crimes in our state will rise.

Non-profits in Denver who work with victims of sexual assault say it’s likely plenty of cases went unreported because a good number of victims felt wary about going into the hospital during the height of COVID-19.

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 23.8% of women in Colorado have experienced sexual violence compared to 18.3% nationwide.

The Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault just relaunched its “You Havethe Right Campaign” to help provide victims and their families with local resources and assistance.

The executive director of the coalition says it’s important to look at the local figures and national figures from different perspectives.

“It makes you wonder: Is there something about Colorado that makes survivors feel more comfortable about coming forward and talking about what happened to them?” said Brie Franklin, executive director of the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault. “So it’s not necessarily that more is happening here — although that could be the case. Or it could be more survivors are moving here or survivors who live here feel more comfortable about talking about what happened to them.”

The “You Have the Right Campaign” is available to anyone, including people who just want to learn more about sex assault crimes and what help might be available to them.

The Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault was instrumental in getting two bills passed this year to help victims: Senate Bill 73 and Senate Bill 88.

Senate Bill 88 creates a new cause of action so that survivors of sex assault can sue institutions that knowingly covered up sexual misconduct for child sex abuse victims.

Senate Bill 73 eliminates statutes of limitations within the civil legal system for all survivors of child sexual abuse and sexual misconduct, so it impacts adults as well.

“So what that means is starting this upcoming year, Jan. 1, 2022, there will be no civil statute of limitations. So that gives survivors time again to heal, to do what they need to do and then seek justice through the civil legal system,” Franklin said.

Click here to learn more about the “You Have the Right Campaign.”

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