Sen. John Cooke-sponsored bill to protect victims of sexual assault and stalking passes Senate committee | MyWindsorNow.com

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Sen. John Cooke-sponsored bill to protect victims of sexual assault and stalking passes Senate committee

The state Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday unanimously approved Sen. John Cooke's, R-Greeley, legislation that could allow victims of stalking, sexual assault and domestic violence to break their leases to flee their attackers and protect their safety.

That approval sends House Bill 1035 to the Committee of the Whole for a vote.

Current law does not provide any recourse for these victims to safely exit a dangerous living situation without repercussions, according to a news release from the Colorado Senate Republicans.

Cooke's bill would only require victims to produce a police report, restraining order, or letter from a medical professional attesting to the crime to create a pathway for victims to get out of leases and find a new place to live and flee their attackers, according to the release.

According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men experience stalking at some point in their lives. Of those women, 81 percent were also physically abused and 31 percent were sexually assaulted, the release stated.

"During my career in law enforcement as a forensics crime investigator and then as sheriff, violent crimes and sexual crimes against women and children came across my desk far too often," Cooke said. "I've seen these crimes up close and the devastation they cause not only to the women and families but to the community as a whole is often irreparable. It is our moral imperative to take any steps we can to help victims find a path to safety and begin to rebuild their lives after these horrific events."