Bennet Tours Denver's Rape Awareness and Assistance Program, Calls for Continuing Resources to Prevent Crimes Against Women

Visit to Local Rape Crisis Center Highlights Need to Reauthorize Violence Against Women Act

In support of ongoing efforts to prevent violence against women, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet stopped by the Rape Awareness and Assistance Program (RAAP) in Denver. Bennet toured the facility and sat down with advocates and victims to highlight the need to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which Bennet is cosponsoring.

“RAAP is an incredible resource and source of support for victims of domestic and sexual abuse,” Bennet said. “The Violence Against Women Act supports organizations like RAAP, as well as our law enforcement, in their efforts to prevent crimes against women, and that work is just as important now as it was when this law was first written. Reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act will help ensure these critical protections remain available.”

VAWA advances efforts to combat domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The bill provides essential resources to state and local law enforcement to investigate and prosecute crimes, and to non-profit organizations that supply essential services for victims and survivors. Since VAWA was originally enacted, reporting of domestic violence has increased by as much as 51%.

The act expired last year and is operating on a temporary authorization which expires in September.  A full, long-term reauthorization, which would extend VAWA through 2016, is expected to come before the Senate as early as next week. 

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women provided Colorado organizations grants totaling $6,366,972 in 2010 and $7,698,048 in 2011. RAAP receives $24,000 through VAWA to fund a part-time bilingual therapist to better serve Spanish-speaking clients.

Violence Against Women In Colorado

  • 1 in 4 women in Colorado has reported being raped in her lifetime.
  • In 2009, 9% of students reported having experienced relationship violence (i.e., being hit by a boyfriend or a girlfriend).
  • 11.1% of female youth and 4.4% of male youth report having been physically forced to have sexual intercourse.
  • Almost half of all murders in Colorado are committed by an intimate partner. The vast majority of these victims are female.

***Please note: In order to protect the confidentiality of RAAP clients, we ask that no photographs or video are taken of the exterior of the facility and that the facility’s address not be used in any stories published or broadcast.