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Domestic violence programs benefit from Coloradans getting tax refunds

Author: Joey Bunch - February 24, 2018 - Updated: February 23, 2018

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DHS domestic violenceThe Colorado Department of Human Services is urging taxpayers getting a refund to consider a “check off” for the Domestic Abuse Fund. (Photo courtesy of Rachel Moore/Colorado Department of Human Services)

The Colorado Department of Human Services is reminding those getting a tax refund this year to consider helping domestic abuse victims.

The Colorado Domestic Abuse Fund is one of the causes listed among the check-offs on tax returns. It helps fund 47 local domestic violence programs that answered 63,671 crisis calls and served 18,124 adults and 4,501 children in 2017.

“As adults, we want to protect children in our community and ensure their safety. That’s why it is so heartbreaking to know that problems like domestic and dating violence, which we tend to consider ‘grown-up issues,’ affect so many of our young people every day. Last year, of the thousands of Coloradans who sought help from the Colorado Domestic Abuse Fund, 31 percent were 24 years old and younger, and 21 percent were under the age of 17,” Reggie Bicha, DHS’s executive director, tells Colorado Politics.

“The Colorado Domestic Abuse Fund provides crucial services for those kids, teens and adults who need our help immediately, but emergency services are only one part of the equation. We know domestic violence can be an early indicator for larger, underlying issues. Through our awareness and prevention efforts, we can work to make Colorado a safer place for all our kids and families.”

The tax return check-off generated more than $167,000 from Coloradans who donated on their 2016 tax returns.

DHS offered some examples of the programs the donations support.

  • 24-hour crisis line
  • Emergency housing
  • Support groups, counseling and advocacy
  • Safety planning and information and referrals for victims and their families
  • Community education and prevention
  • Children’s programming and advocacy

DHS said 54 percent of its domestic violence service providers are in rural areas.

“Making a one-time contribution on your state income tax form is one of the simplest ways to make a difference in the life of a survivor of domestic violence,” Brooke Ely-Milen, DHS’s Domestic Violence Program, said in a statement. “Domestic violence survivors are the women, men and children who live just down the street. Providing help, hope and a pathway to safety through your generous contributions helps build stronger communities together.”

The Colorado Domestic Abuse Fund has been listed on state returns since 1983, when Colorado became the first state to allow taxpayers to chip in a share of their return to help the domestic violence programs.

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.