State-of-the-Art Team to Support High-Risk Domestic Violence Survivors Unveiled in Adams County
June 27, 2022
Brighton, CO — On Monday, June 27, 2022, 17th Judicial District Attorney Brian Mason, United States Congressmen Ed Perlmutter, Joe Neguse, and Jason Crow were joined by members of the Adams County Commission, Thornton Police Chief Terrence Gordon, and other service providers to publicly unveil a new state-of-the-art team to support survivors of high-risk domestic violence situations.
United States Congressmen Ed Perlmutter, Joe Neguse, and Jason Crow worked diligently in 2022 to obtain $2 million in federal appropriations to assist the 17th Judicial District Attorney's Office, our service providers, law enforcement, and Adams County in the formation of a state-of-the-art Domestic Violence High-Risk Team. The team supports survivors and prevents the escalation of domestic violence situations that research has shown can become fatal if proper intervention and necessary resources are not available.
The scourge of domestic violence incidents continues in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In response to this crisis, the DA's Office, law enforcement, and local service providers removed the silos that can exist within the criminal justice community to form a Domestic Violence High-Risk Team that will wrap survivors and their children in support and services to protect them from further trauma caused by relationship violence.
The team is activated when an officer on scene determines through a risk-assessment tool that the survivor of the incident falls into the high-risk category. From that point forward, the survivor and their children are supported through the entire process with access to temporary housing, legal assistance, mental health treatment, as well as school support for the children involved.
The pilot program is already underway in Thornton and Brighton and will be expanded throughout Adams County and into Broomfield County because of the funding obtained by Congressmen Perlmutter, Neguse, and Crow. The ultimate goal is the creation of a Family Justice Center that will house all of the support and services of the DVHRT in one location for survivors.
"Getting here today was an enormous collaborative effort, and we are really proud of it. Now that we've secured the funding, we have to do the work. We have to serve domestic violence survivors better. This team will work to ensure that survivors receive the critical support they need to avoid ending up on an autopsy table."
--District Attorney Brian Mason
“From temporary housing assistance to legal guidance, this team is making a real difference in our community for the victims of domestic violence. Access to comprehensive, life-saving services and resources is critical, and I’m pleased to see this funding ensure more victims and their family members are able to stay out of harm’s way.”
--Congressman Ed Perlmutter
"This vital funding will provide life-saving resources for survivors of domestic violence and their children. I look forward to our continued partnership with the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office as we work to create safer communities for everyone."
--Congressman Joe Neguse
“Survivors of domestic violence and their families face a long road to healing. Adams County’s Domestic Violence High-Risk Team leads the way, extending a village of support to families with wrap-around services on the path forward. I’m proud to have worked alongside Reps. Perlmutter and Neguse to deliver $2 million to give families what they deserve.”
--Congressman Jason Crow
"Partnership is the key. If there's any one agency or advocacy group that sets out to solve the problem of domestic and intimate-partner violence alone then they've already failed because we can't do it alone."
--Thornton Police Chief Terrence Gordon
"We are beyond grateful for the $2 million in federal funding to help domestic violence victims in Adams County and the 17th Judicial District. The victim and family-centered approach with access to expanded programs, partnerships, education, and services allows us to better serve our residents in a time of crisis."
--Lynn Baca, Chair of the Adams County Board of Commissioners
"Multi-systemic collaborations are hard, they're challenging, but when we do it right for the noble goal of serving people affected by intimate-partner violence and bringing forward better services for them that are responsive and impactful, we do something together we can't do alone." --Scott Shields, Family Tree CEO
"This is reality. As advocates, we've been wishing for a collaboration like this to make our jobs even stronger, and together we are stronger. We'll be able to provide those services to our survivors and their children and help them break that cycle."
--Sylvia Gambos, Servicios de la Raza Program Director
"The Brighton Police Department is fully supportive of the mission of the Domestic Violence High Risk Team and looks forward to the enhanced, supportive services this effort will provide to victims of domestic violence in our communities."
--Brighton Police Department
"”Project Safeguard is proud to be a part of this collaboration in the 17th Judicial district. We have provided services to victims of gender-based violence in Adams and Broomfield counties for more than twenty years. Since Alternatives to Family Violence abruptly closed its doors more than six years ago, we have eagerly awaited and advocated for the creation of new services in Adams County. As founding partners at the Rose Andom Center, Denver’s family justice center, and of the Collaborative Domestic Violence Response Team, we are excited to bring our expertise and advocacy to the Domestic Violence High Risk Team and to the efforts to create a family justice center to serve these communities.”
"Brighton Housing Authority is grateful for the federal appropriation to support the expansion of the DVHRT. Our agency has seen firsthand the effectiveness of the collaboration and information sharing that this partnership offers. It has been a game changer in supporting victims of domestic violence in our community." --Brighton Housing Authority
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District Attorney Mason assumed the oath of office on January 12, 2021. The 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office endeavors to seek justice on behalf of the citizens of Adams and Broomfield counties in felony and misdemeanor cases. DA Mason and his staff are dedicated to transforming the criminal justice system to better serve the citizens of the 17th Judicial District.
Ms. Gazelka is a forensic therapist and clinician in Denver, Colorado. She is currently focused on providing therapy and assessment services to adult offenders in the community corrections and parole systems as a supervisor at Correctional Psychology Associates (CPA). Her education and career have been devoted to the intersection of psychology and law since 2000. Ms. Gazelka has been working within the field of forensic and correctional psychology since 2006, providing therapy in the community and acute mental health care and risk assessments in county jails. She has practiced as a Licensed Professional Counselor since June 2012. She also became a Licensed Addiction Counselor in March 2014. She was listed as a full operating level DVOMB Approved Provider in June 2019 and started a fledgling DV program oriented to Colorado’s Department of Corrections at CPA in September 2019. Ms. Gazelka was appointed to the Domestic Violence Offender Management Board (DVOMB) in March 2019 and has started her second term with the board. Ms. Gazelka has been recognized for her work as Contributor of the Year at CPA in 2010 and 2012, as well as having been awarded an Alumni Impact Award for her forensic work in the community by University of Denver’s GSPP in 2019. Ms. Gazelka received her Master of Arts degree in Forensic Clinical Psychology from University of Denver's Graduate School of Professional Psychology in 2009. Ms. Gazelka also received her Juris Doctorate from William Mitchell College of Law in 2007, obtaining attorney’s licenses in both Minnesota and Colorado (currently inactive).
Alex Castro Croy
Alex Castro Croy is a bilingual, bicultural, Trauma and Addiction Counselor and owner/Lead Clinician of Life Recovery Centers in Denver and Northglenn Colorado.
A first-generation immigrant from Mexico who accomplished his dream in higher education receiving an AA in Pastoral Ministry (Dallas, Texas), Bachelor of Science in Human Services (MSU in Denver, Colorado) and MA in Community Counseling from Regis University (Denver, Co). He is continuing to pursue his MA/Ph.D. from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Jungian and Archetypal Studies.
Alex’s passion includes training, teaching, counseling, and consulting. He has been an Adjunct Professor for the Human Services Department at MSU-Denver for 9 years. He has served as an Interventionist for the Latino GLBTQ community, Drug Court Probation Officer at Denver Juvenile Court Probation (8 years), Bilingual Diversion Officer for Denver DA office (5 years), and currently owner and director of Life Recovery Centers (7 years). He has worked with a variety of clients from all walks of life and his eclectic therapeutic interventions have proven to be effective in treating trauma and addiction.
Thea Wessel is an addictions counselor with a private practice in Colorado. She has been working in the criminal and addiction fields for thirteen years. Ms. Wessel earned her Masters in forensic psychology from the University of Denver and has her LPC, LAC, MAC, NCAAC, and ADS. She is working towards her Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Ms. Wessel continually challenges herself and others to provide quality addiction treatment and ways to continue to educate the community about addiction issues.