Since 2007, Routt County has seen four deaths suspected to be related to domestic violence, which is four times the state average. In this edition, Steamboat Pilot & Today crime reporter Matt Stensland looks at commonalities among the four cases, identifies warning signs and explores steps community members can take in order to prevent a friend or family member from becoming the victim of a lethal attack.
Local resources are available for those who feel they are the victim of abuse or for those who know someone who might be in an abusive relationship.
Routt County victims often are referred to Advocates Building Peaceful Communities, which will celebrate its 30th year in December. On average, Advocates has served about 300 people in each of the past 10 years.
The Routt County District Attorney’s Office helped establish the organization, which has grown to offer a variety of services, including a shelter where victims or potential victims can stay.
Advocates also offers counseling, a women’s support group, teen support group, criminal justice advocacy, help with obtaining civil protection orders and consulting. As funds are available, Advocates also holds presentations on education and awareness, including a workplace violence presentation.
Advocates offers these tips to people who know someone who possibly is in danger:
■ Listen in a nonjudgmental, supportive manner.
■ Be supportive, regardless of the number of times they return to the relationship.
■ Remind them that they are not alone and are not to blame for the abuse.
■ Make referrals to programs that offer assistance to victims of domestic violence. Encourage them to make contact with a victim advocate to discuss options.
■ Assist in developing a safety plan.
■ If they tell you they are afraid, trust that there are good reasons for that belief.
■ Tell them you’re concerned for their safety.
■ Tell them that they deserve better than this.
■ Be there for them even when you don’t understand their decisions.
For help in Routt County, people can call Advocates at 970-879-2034. The 24-hour crisis hotline number is 970-879-8888. In Moffat County, people can call Advocates Crisis Support Services at 970-824-9709. The 24-hour crisis hotline number is 970-824-2400. In an emergency, call 911. Those looking for resources outside Northwest Colorado can call 1-800-799-7233.