Colorado crime victims advocate for better services, more outreach

Survey will highlight trends and needs

DENVER — When a gunman opened fire in a church parking lot and murdered David Works' daughters right in front of him, he says there was no shortage of help for his family. 

He utilized available counseling services and a fund that helped pay for the funeral expenses, but he knows everyone is not able to get the same kind of assistance. In fact, many don't even ask. 

"Like in our instance it was a very public event, so access to services was fairly simple. That’s not the case with most violent crime. It’s either not reported, or people don’t know where to go," said Works.

Now, ten years after his daughters were killed, Works and other crime victims are advocating for others who are being left behind. 

A survey of 500 survivors showed gaps in victims services and aims to shed light on the reasons why. 

"Survivors often deal with long-term trauma, whether the victimization happened yesterday or 20 years ago and unfortunately there are just significant gaps in services for survivors, especially after the legal or judicial criminal proceeding is over," said Justin Cooper, Deputy Director for the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition.

The Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition wants to use this information to raise awareness, promote education and push for strategies that strengthen services.

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