Local law enforcement agencies are hoping to simplify the process of getting help to victims of domestic violence. On Tuesday (10/20) Aspen, Snowmass and Basalt police joined the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office in creating the Valley’s first Advocate Initiated Response referral system.
The system, known as AIR, will bring a simple change. Right now, officers give information to victims of domestic violence about a local advocacy program called RESPONSE. But, it’s up to the victim to seek that help. With AIR, RESPONSE will contact the victim and offer services like shelter and support. Linda Consuegra with the Aspen Police Department says the intimate nature of this crime prevents people from seeking help.
"It’s hard to reach out to people. But if someone is reaching out to you and offering that help, you’re more inclined to take it. And I think the sooner we can provide that help to victims, it’s better for everyone - for the victim, for that relationship, that household, for the community," she says.
In 2014, law enforcement agencies from Basalt to Aspen responded to a combined 197 domestic violence related calls.