About the Victim Assistance Unit
The Victim Assistance Unit (VAU) provides crisis intervention services, support, information and advocacy to victims, witnesses and family members in the event of criminal victimization or in certain instances of non-criminal stark misfortune. A proactive, comprehensive victim-centered approach is implemented to meet each victim's needs through on-scene crisis interventions and follow-up services.
The unit’s victim specialists are available to respond within Denver’s communities with other members of the police department and will identify resources/services and connect those affected by crime and stark misfortune to community and system-based agencies for further support. We also provide information related to navigating and understanding the investigative process within the Denver Police Department and the criminal justice system along with understanding crime victim rights in Colorado.
Colorado Victims Rights Act
The purpose of the Colorado Victim Rights Act (CRS Section 24-4.1-302.5) is to preserve and protect a victim's rights to justice and due process and to ensure the justice system pursue the rights of victims with equal diligence as rights guaranteed to criminal defendants.
Applicable Crime Types
The Constitution of the State of Colorado and the laws of this state guarantee rights to the victims of the following crimes:
- Assault 1-Degree 18-3-202
- 2nd Degree 18-3-203
- 3rd Degree 18-3-204
- Vehicular Assault 18-3-205
Crimes Against Children
- Child Abuse 18-6-401
- Child Prostitution 18-7-401
- Inducement of Child Prostitution 7-405.5
- Patronizing a Prostituted Child 18-7-406
- Pimping of a Child 18-7-405
- Procurement of a Child for Sexual Exploitation 18-6-404
- Sexual Assault on a child 18-3-405
- Sexual Assault of a child—Position of Trust 18-3-405.3
- Sexual Exploitation of Children18-6-403
- Soliciting for Child Prostitution 8-7-402
- Retaliation against a Witness or victim 18-8-706
- Intimidating a witness/victim 18-8-704
- Aggravated intimidation of a witness /victim 18-8-705
- Tampering with a witness/victim 18-8-707
- Retaliation against a judge 18-8-615
- Retaliation against a juror 18-8-706.5
- Retaliation against a prosecutor 18-6-616
- Violation of protection orders issued under 18-1-1001 against a person charge with committing sexual assault 18-3-402, sexual assault on a child 18-3-405, sexual assault on a child by position of trust 18-3-405.3, sexual assault on a client by a psychotherapist 18-3-405.5, or stalking 18-3-602
- Any crime identified by law enforcement prior to the filing of charges as DV 18-6-800.3
- An act identified by a district attorney in a formal criminal charge as DV 18-6-800.3
- Any crime, w/underlying factual basis of which has been found by the court on the record to include an act of DV 18-6-800-3 pursuant to section 18-6-801
Murder/Manslaughter/Homicide/Death Related Offenses
- Careless driving resulting in death of another 42-4-1402
- Failure to stop at the scene of an accident where the accident results in the death of another 42-4 1601
- Murder 1-degree 18-3-102, Murder 2-degree 18-3-103,
- Manslaughter 18-3-104
- Criminally negligent homicide 18-3-105
- Vehicular homicide 18-3-106
- A bias-motivated crime 18-9-121
- Aggravated incest 18-6-302
- Crimes against at risk adults/juveniles 18-6.5-103
- Incest 18-6-301
- Aggravated Incest 18-6-302
- Kidnapping 1-degree 18-3-301, Kidnapping 2-degree 18-3-302
- Menacing 18-3-206
- Stalking 18-3-602 or 18-9-111
- Any crime attempts as described in section 18-2-101, any conspiracy 18-2-201, any criminal solicitation 18-2-301, and any accessory to a crime 18-8-105, involving any crimes specified in 24-4.1-302(1)
- Failure to stop at scene of accident that resulted in death or serious bodily injury of another 42-4-1601
- Posting a private image for harassment 18-7-107 or positing a private image for pecuniary gain 18-7-108
- Robbery 18-4-301
- Aggravated robbery 18-4-302
- Aggravated robbery of controlled substances 18-4-303
- Burglary 1-degree 18-4-202
- Sexual assault 18-3-402, Sexual Assault 1-degree 18-3-402 as it existed prior to July 1, 2000, Sexual Assault 2-degree 18-3-403 as it existed prior to July 1, 2000, Sexual Assault 3-degree 18-3-404 as it existed prior to July 1, 2000
- Unlawful sexual contact 18-3-404
- Sexual assault on a client by a psychotherapist 18-3-405.5
- Invasion of privacy for sexual gratification 18-3-405.6
- Indecent exposure 18-7-302
- Human Trafficking 18-3-503 or 18-3-504
Rights of Victims
Victims of the crimes listed above are guaranteed the following rights and may be entitled to special services and even financial assistance (see our Victim Rights Brochure(PDF, 95KB)). If the victim is deceased or incapacitated, these rights are guaranteed to the victim’s spouse, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, significant other or other lawful representative:
Personal Treatment / Privacy
- Treatment with fairness, respect and dignity.
- Information about steps that may be taken if subjected to intimidation or harassment
- Upon request of the victim, correctional officials will keep confidential addresses, phone numbers, and places of employment or other personal information of the victim or the victim’s immediate family.
Case Information / Legal Proceedings
- Information on all charges filed and assurance of swift and fair resolution of the proceeding.
- Input into decisions regarding plea bargains and to be present and have input at sentencing and parole hearings.
- Information regarding restitution or civil remedies.
- Release of property within five (5) days after the case is settled and the property is no longer needed as evidence.
- Notification of all case dispositions, including appeals.
- Timely notification of all court dates.
- Secured waiting area when available.
Community Resources / Employment Assistance
- Information regarding community resources and other information that will assist recovery.
- Assistance with employment problems resulting from being the victim of a crime.
Criminal Convictions, Release, etc.
- Notification of any change in the status or the release from custody of the accused.
- The institution where the person is incarcerated or otherwise being held.
- The projected release date of the person.
- Any release of the person including furlough, work release or community corrections in advance of release.
- Date and location of scheduled parole hearings.
- Any escape of the person from a correctional facility or program.
- Any release or discharge from confinement of the person and conditions of that release.
- The death of the person while in a correctional facility or program.
Your Rights(PDF, 95KB)
Your Rights with the Press(PDF, 50KB)
If you are a victim of a crime that involves physical injury, depending upon the circumstances you may qualify for financial assistance from the Victim Compensation Fund. For more information, call (720) 913-9253. You can also visit the Denver District Attorney's Crime Victim Compensation Office for additional resources.
The Center for Trauma and Resilience provides culturally and linguistically responsive programs, health promotion and crime prevention education. Our services are broad, supporting survivors of simple theft, domestic and sexual violence, to suicide/homicide survivors. We provide crisis intervention, case management, financial assistance, client relocation, integrated physical and mental health programs and more, all without financial cost to our clients.
SafeHouse serves victims of domestic violence and their children through both an emergency shelter and non-residential Counseling / Advocacy Center. All of the women and children at SafeHouse have access to a full range of services including individual and group counseling, advocacy, and safety planning.
Victim Notification (VineLink) VINE is a National Victim Notification Network created to keep victims informed about the custody status of their offenders. Victims of crime can use the telephone or Internet to search for information, or register to receive notifications about about their offender's custody status.
Register for Victim Notification
The Colorado Office for Victims Programs houses a series of programs to support the lives of crime victims as well as programs providing statewide guidance on how to best support specific victim populations.
Cold Case Victim Services
The Victim Assistance Unit, in conjunction with the Cold Case Investigations Unit, has created a Cold Case Victim Program that employs a full-time Cold Case Program Coordinator. The VAU Cold Case Program Coordinator works side-by-side with Cold Case detectives and serves as the primary point of contact for victims, co-victims and family members identified in unsolved sexual assaults and unresolved homicides. The Cold Case Program Coordinator is on-call and available to respond to meet with victims and family members, to assist in the identification of resources, and additional assistance as renewed activity begins in these cases. This individual is also available as a point of contact for victims and families who would like updates and information in their cases for as long as they remain unsolved or unresolved.
If you would like more immediate assistance regarding support or resources to aid in the recovery process related to an unresolved murder or sexual assault, please contact the Special Projects Coordinator at 720-913-6677 (direct) or 720-913-6035 (general).