By Misty Fowlds
Special to The SUN
Pagosa Springs is a little gem, a place known for its outstanding beauty and abundant natural resources. What is less known are some other important resources the community has to offer that make our community safer.
First and foremost, this community has the Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program (ACVAP). ACVAP is a private, nonprofit organization that works to end violence through advocacy, education and support services. Advocates are available 24/7 to help those affected by violence to heal, make positive changes and rebuild self-esteem.
Archuleta County also has the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), which comprises advocates, law enforcement (from both the Pagosa Springs Police Department and Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office), a prosecutor, sexual assault nurse examiner, the Archuleta County Department of Human Services and the probation department.
This team’s mission is to “Ensure an effective, consistent, comprehensive and collaborative response to sexual assault that prioritizes the needs of survivors, brings offenders to justice and reduces the impact of sexual assault in Archuleta County.”
The team meets regularly and works to identify gaps in services, build stronger cases and continually improve the response to this crime — with the primary goal of being victim-centered. Collaborations like this ultimately make communities safer, yet not all communities have advocacy programs and SARTs — thankfully, we do.