At least 63 people died as a result of domestic violence incidents in Colorado in 2020, according to a new report from the Colorado Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board.
The annual report was released by the Colorado Attorney General's Office Monday.
According to the report, of the 63 people, 35 were killed by their intimate partners, four were collateral victims and 24 were perpetrators of domestic violence. The review board determined an additional 15 domestic violence cases in 2020 involved attempted murders or near-deaths.
There was a slight decrease in domestic violence deaths in 2020 compared to 2019. However, 2020 saw the second-highest number of domestic violence deaths out of the past five years, according to the report.
Firearms were the predominant weapons used in the reviewed cases, according to the Colorado Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board. Firearms were present in 54% of the incidents.
The report discovered these risk factors were the most common in the reviewed cases:
- 89% of the reviewed cases involved intimate partners who were possessive of their victims
- 77% of the reviewed cases involved an intimate partner with history of domestic violence assaults and stalking their victims
- 69% of the reviewed cases involved the intimate partner stalking the victim
- 66% of the reviewed cases involved pending legal action against the intimate partner from their victim
- 60% of the reviewed cases involved access to a firearm
- 60% of the reviewed cases involved intimate partners who were financially dependent on their victims
There is a relationship between domestic violence fatalities and housing instability, according to the report. The Colorado Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board also noticed a slightly elevated risk for domestic violence deaths and attempted/near-death incidents in rural counties due to isolation and limited access to transportation and resources.
“We all must work together to protect and help those who may be suffering in silence, including in rural areas of our state,” said Attorney General Phil Weiser, who chairs the board. “As we are reminded each year while compiling reports and acting on their recommendations, fatality review boards are a critical tool for communities to understand and prevent those deaths and suffering. This coming session of the Colorado General Assembly, the legislature should pass legislation to reauthorize the board to continue its work and to support local and regional domestic violence fatality review teams.”
The report recommended the following:
- Increased focus on policies aimed at improving economic stability for domestic violence victims and perpetrators
- Explore statutory change in response to teen dating violence and determine if legislative action is needed to bring the state juvenile code into line with the adult system
- Explore and study the need for enforcing mandates of domestic violence offender treatment following jail time, plus pre-release planning that incorporates assessment risk for intimate partner violence and lethality