§ 13-14-100.2. Legislative declaration
(1) The general assembly hereby finds that the issuance and enforcement of protection orders are of paramount importance in the state of Colorado because protection orders promote safety, reduce violence and other types of abuse, and prevent serious harm and death. In order to improve the public’s access to protection orders and to ensure careful judicial consideration of requests and effective law enforcement, there shall be two processes for obtaining protection orders within the state of Colorado, a simplified civil process and a mandatory criminal process.
(2) The general assembly further finds and declares that domestic abuse is not limited to physical threats of violence and harm but also includes mental and emotional abuse, financial control, document control, property control, and other types of control that make a victim more likely to return to an abuser due to fear of retaliation or inability to meet basic needs. Many victims of domestic abuse are unable to access the resources necessary to seek lasting safety options. Victims need additional provisions in protection orders so that they can meet their immediate needs of food, shelter, transportation, medical care, and childcare for their appearance at protection order hearings. These needs may exist not only in cases that may end in dissolution of marriage but also in other circumstances, including cases in which reconciliation may occur.
(3) Additionally, the general assembly finds and declares that sexual assault affects Coloradans of all ages, backgrounds, and circumstances and is one of the most under-reported of all crimes. Sexual violence may occur in any type of relationship; however, the majority of sexual assault is perpetrated by someone whom the victim knows. Victims of sexual assault who do not report the crime, as well as victims who do report but whose case is not prosecuted, still need and deserve protection from future interactions with the perpetrator, as many victims experience long-lasting physical and emotional trauma from unwanted contact with the perpetrator.
(4) Finally, the general assembly finds and declares that stalking is a dangerous, high-risk crime that frequently escalates over time and that sometimes leads, tragically, to sexual assault or homicide. Countless youth and adults in Colorado have faced the fear, isolation, and danger of being victims of stalking, and many of these incidents go unreported and are not prosecuted. While stalking behaviors may appear innocuous to outside observers, the victims often endure intense physical and emotional distress that affects all aspects of their lives and are more likely than others to express anxiety, depression, and social dysfunction.