Survivors believe new domestic violence law is making a difference across Colorado

Posted at 8:17 PM, Aug 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-31 22:16:59-04

DENVER -- Three months after it became a felony in Colorado to strangle someone, Denver County District Attorney Mitch Morrissey is prosecuting in a manner that can be described as "fast and furious."

Since the bill became law on May 31, it took Morrissey’s office just 48 hours to charge its first strangulation offender as a felon.

For a law that’s aimed at curbing domestic violence -- by the numbers -- it appears to be working.

Morrissey has charged 43 cases and of those, just one was a non-domestic violence case.

In the 18th Judicial District that includes both Arapahoe and Douglas counties, nine offenders have been charged and one of those was a juvenile.

“These would be situations where there’s an intimate relationship, a family relationship, where somebody is grabbing somebody by the throat and strangling them to the point where they can’t breathe, to the point where they’re feeling pain,” said Morrissey. “We know that that is serious bodily injury and now this statute allows us to hold those people accountable.”

Survivors of strangulation-domestic violence tell Denver7 the new law is working and they are glad state lawmakers took their testimony seriously.

“It was a very hard situation to go through, but it finally felt like somebody was taking it seriously which was a victory for a lot of us that have experienced it,” said Tracey Tatro-Swindle.

“Their descriptions of what they went through, the long-term effects that they gave the legislature certainly helped us get this bill through, I want to thank them all for that,” said Morrissey.

Now, those at the center of making this law a reality are urging others to come forward.

“For those survivors who are out there that are suffering through this and haven’t brought it to our attention, I’m asking them to do that, we will hold the person accountable and now with this statute, we have the tools to do that,” said Morrissey.

If you are in a crisis or need immediate help, dial 911 or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799-SAFE (7233) or TTY (800) 787−3224


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