Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Alternatives to Violence Turns 40!

March 10th, 2022 by Rosemarie Massaro

Teased hair, neon clothing, new wave music….

a lot has changed since 1982, but what hasn’t changed is our commitment to helping victims of violence in our community. We are very proud to share that Alternatives to Violence has been servicing clients for 40 years now!

Alternatives to Violence was founded in January 1982 by Roxie Ellis and Pam Higgins as the Loveland Battered Women’s Task Force operating from the basement of First United Methodist Church. By July the organization was incorporated as Alternatives for Battered Women. They offered services to the community, including a support group for abused women in Loveland and education about the topic. Two years later Linson was made the first official executive director, and during the first year of being open, they helped ten families escaping violence.

It was 1988 when Executive Director Pat Linson realized housing was a problem for victims of domestic abuse. She wanted a place for them to be able to go where they could make some real important decisions about what they needed to do for themselves without having to pay an exorbitant amount of rent or being pressed for time. Thanks to a $242,000 grant from the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, they purchased a house that was converted into separate apartments, intentionally meant not to be like dorm-style housing which was typical of most shelters. Named the Transitional Learning Center, it was the first center of its kind in the state .

It wasn’t until March 1989 that the name was changed to Alternatives to Violence. The change reflected the expansion of services to help not only women, but men as well .

ATV’s SafeHouse opened in October 2016 with 8 rooms and 22 beds to give clients a safe place to stay in times of crisis. Thanks to community support, ATV will be expanding the number of rooms in the SafeHouse this year to accommodate more clients.

Today, ATV helps over 1,600 clients with advocacy, resources and education to put them on a path to healing and independence, away from a life of fear and abuse.

Over the years ATV has been privileged to help women and men find jobs, safe and comfortable places to stay, learn a new skill and care for their children and pets.

As we acknowledge our anniversary, we recognize all the donors, Board members, staff, volunteers and community partners who have helped us along the way. We certainly couldn’t make it this far without you! Thank you for believing in what we do and being a part of our mission.


January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month

January 17th, 2022 by ATV Staff

Although Alternatives to Violence works to promote awareness and prevention of human trafficking throughout the whole year, as Human Trafficking Awareness Month, January is a key time to make additional efforts.

What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is a criminal act that involves the use of force or fraud to achieve some type of labor or commercial sex act. Traffickers might use violence, manipulation, or false promises of well-paying jobs or romantic relationships to lure victims into trafficking situations.

According to a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report, nearly 80% of human trafficking is sexual exploitation. The victims of sexual exploitation are predominantly women and girls.

To help prevent, identify or report human trafficking, it’s important to understand some of the signs.

·  Apartments or houses with too many people, all picked up or dropped off at the same time

·  Bruising or untreated injuries

·  No control over personal belongings like mail or phone

·  One person speaking on behalf of many others, who may avoid eye contact or conversation

·  Anxious and unwilling to tell others about their situation

·  Poor health, malnutrition or untreated dental conditions

·  Symptoms of psychological trauma including anxiety, confusion, memory loss

· New tattoos (of cherries, roses, dollar signs or crowns)

· Having older significant others

· STIs or STDs

Help make a change

If your workplace, club, church or agency would like to offer training on human trafficking, please contact Amanda at or (970) 669-5150.

If you or someone you know needs help

Please call ATV at 970-669-5150 or text 970-669-5157. We are here for you.

ATV's Services Never Take a Holiday

December 4th, 2020 by ATV Staff

You may not realize it, but domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking are highly prevalent around the country, and a harsh reality right here in Northern Colorado.

Each of those violent crimes has seen an alarming surge in the face of COVID-19. As most of the population is working and spending more time at home, victims are forced to be in tight, dangerous confines with their abusers. The pandemic has put many people in financial hardship; perpetuating stressful living conditions, alcohol consumption and substance abuse, even resulting in new violent scenarios.  Additionally, the holidays can add to the stress with family obligations, gift buying and other holiday expectations that become pressures rather than enjoyment. Unfortunately for many, the holidays aren’t a season of merriment or peace. It can be difficult for many to navigate the hustle and bustle of heightened emotions and challenges that may culminate into violence.

Alternatives to Violence (ATV) is a non-profit organization located in Loveland that provides shelter, advocacy, education and resources for people impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking. The wide variety of free services includes emergency shelter, 24-hour victim advocates, court advocates and community education advocates. ATV can be reached 24 hours every day at (970) 669-5150. The staff is specially trained to help victims of all identifying genders in crisis find emergency shelter, connect with community services or implement a safety plan. ATV’s office staff can help guide survivors on how to obtain skills and work their way towards long-term, independent living.

In addition to shelter and crisis intervention, ATV partners with the Loveland Police Department, other local law enforcement agencies and local hospitals to provide 24-hour crisis intervention and victim advocates at a crime scene, in the hospital, before, during and after a criminal case or to support clients with legal assistance.

ATV also works on efforts to change the stigma, stereotypes and myths about these types of violence throughout the community, while exploring different ways to reach those that might be victims.

If you suspect a friend, loved one or neighbor might be the victim of an abusive relationship watch for telling signs such as intense jealousy, controlling or humiliating behavior. When confronting the victim, do not be judgmental. Let the person know you are there to help and listen. Offer ways to assist with their daily routine. Stress the importance of self-care and getting out to seeing family and friends. If the person admits to being in an abusive situation, encourage him/her to seek legal intervention, counseling or shelter. Whatever the person chooses to do it’s important to remain supportive, to let that person know you are there for them so they will continue to trust you.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault or human trafficking, please give Alternatives to Violence a call at (970) 669-5150. If you would like to help, and are interested in either volunteering or donating money or much-needed items, please visit

Alternatives to Violence is able help those in need in our community because of the generosity of the community. It is the grants, in-kind and monetary donations from business partners and individuals that help to keep our doors open and our phone lines on. We are greatly appreciative for living in such a caring community.

October 13th, 2020 by ATV Staff


Efforts of each and every kind
We seek and find in an artist's mind.
There beneath each and every step we walk
For us to gawk and talk of chalk.

Spectacle spate on slate set at our feet,
Upon concrete sidewalk, not asphalt street.
All of which is seen and heard;
I direct pen, to ink each inkling word.

Chalkers of all ages and sizes
From which and who a talent rises.
Bowed and bent 'neath sun or shade
Over pearls of pictures gladly made.

Beautiful people with beautiful purpose,
A written rhyme for each pictured surface.
With pen to play with phrases in combinations
To honor your artistic articulations.

Throng thrilled as it parades;
Oohs and ahs, administered accolades
Behold this smattering of smearing
To extol with cheering or pensive peering.

All, under this late summer sky
For to know and wonder why.
This, a needed created place.
Pictures depict each special space.

- Anonymous
(September 2020)

How to Help Victims of Violence During the COVID-19 Outbreak

March 23rd, 2020 by ATV Staff
Photo credit:

We live in a remarkably giving community. That hasn’t been better proven than during these confusing and scary times as new cases of people infected with COVID-19 are surfacing. Victims of violence are some of the most vulnerable members in our community right now. As supporters of ATV, you know that being at home isn’t a safe haven for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Many of you have reached out asking how to help. Here are just a few ways to help someone in need right now.

  • Don’t text–call. A voice often offers much more comfort than a text. Plus, a friend in need may be more likely to express concerns and emotions in an actual verbal conversation. You may even be able to detect if there is something wrong talking or Face Timing a friend.
  • Encourage them to act fast: For victims who are still healthy or not yet in quarantine status, encourage them to move while they can–either to a friend’s house or shelter. Staying at home may become more violent as time goes by.
  • Practice self-care: Initiate a little shared girl time, even if it’s online. Encourage your friend to think about their well being, whether that’s doing a free online yoga class or a facial. Keeping occupied and maintaining good wellness habits is important.
  • Drop off necessities: It is very likely that an abusive partner will withhold necessities like hand sanitizer as a form of power or control. Offer to pick up essentials for your friend and personally deliver them to ensure they’ve been received.
  • SUPPORT VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE BY SUPPORTING ATV! As we try to navigate the challenges we have been faced with during the COVID-19 outbreak, ATV is doing all we can to be there for those who need us most right now. The cancellation of the Purple Ribbon Breakfast is a great loss of revenue. We are uncertain on how to plan for even the next few weeks ahead. If you are able, please make a donation to ATV. However small, every bit of help is needed right now. It is so important that we maintain our shelter and 24-hour crisis hotline. So many people are looking to us for guidance and support. We are grateful for your consideration and generosity.


Terms Commonly Used When Discussing Domestic Violence

February 10th, 2020 by ATV Staff

Engaging in a conversation about domestic violence can be emotional and daunting. The language used may be unfamiliar to most people outside of the advocacy or legal world, making the conversation that much more uncomfortable. We thought it would be helpful and beneficial to create more ease when discussing domestic violence by sharing the definitions of some of the most commonly used phrases.

Advocate: A trained professional or volunteer working for a non-profit or government-based domestic violence victim-witness advocate program.

Abuser: A person who uses abusive tactics and behavior to exert power and control over another person with whom the abuser is in an intimate, dating or family relationship.

Case Management: The coordination of services on behalf of an individual by an advocate.

Civil Protection Order (CPO): A court order that usually requires a respondent to stay away from and have no contact with the petitioner and directs the respondent not to commit any criminal offense against the petitioner. The order can also specify terms of custody, require the respondent to vacate the household and/or order the respondent to relinquish firearms or other property. CPOs are in effect for a period of one year and can be extended or modified by a judge.

Continuance: A judge can reschedule the case to a later hearing date; if there is a Temporary Protection Order (TPO) it can usually be extended until that date. Even if a case is continued, the petitioner must appear at every court date so that the case is not dismissed.

Domestic Violence: A pattern of behavior in which one individual attempts to exert power and control over another individual in a current or former intimate relationship.

Depositions: Pretrial proceedings in which attorneys for parties in a civil case have the opportunity to examine, under oath, the opposing parties and potential witnesses in the case. Depositions are sworn and reduced to writing. The transcripts may be admissible in evidence at trials if the witnesses are no longer available.

Isolation: When one person uses friends, family and social networks to establish and maintain power and control over a victim. Examples include, but are not limited to: controlling where a victim goes, who s/he talks to, what s/he wears, and/or who s/he sees, limiting involvement in places of worship, PTA and other social networks.

Lethality Assessment: An analysis done by an advocate or law enforcement officer to determine the level of risk of homicide for a victim of domestic violence based on recent and changing behaviors of the batterer.

Perpetrator: A person carrying out domestic violence behaviors.

Protection Order: The general term for an order issued by the Court mandating a batterer to not contact, harass or come within a certain distance of the petitioner and/or other persons named in the order.

Safety Plan: A plan, verbal or written, a victim of domestic violence creates with an advocate. The plan consists of action steps a victim can take to keep her/his children safe when violence takes place or to stop violence from happening.

Trauma Informed Care: Promotes a culture of safety, empowerment and healing. It means treating the whole person, taking into account past trauma and the resulting coping mechanisms when attempting to understand behaviors and treat the patient.

Stalking: When one person pursues, follows or harasses another person against her/his wishes. Examples include, but are not limited to: repeated, unwanted phone calls, following a victim, sending unwanted gifts, destroying or vandalizing a victim’s property, repeated threats and/or tracking a victim’s online activity. 

Vicarious Trauma: The impact of exposure to extreme events experienced by another person resulting in the listener feeling overwhelmed by the trauma or triggering the listener’s own past trauma(s).

Source: DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “Commonly Used Terms in Cases Involving Domestic Violence”

How to Help Victims of Violence Over the Holidays

December 18th, 2019 by ATV Staff

For victims of violence, the holiday season can be very stressful and uncomfortable. The thought of having to even try to put on a happy face and share in celebratory hugs and parties can be daunting.  If you know of someone who has gone through such trauma be cognizant of their feelings and position. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to try to alleviate some of the stress and concerns they might be feeling.

Don’t push them into being festive. Don’t be insulted if your friend chooses to waive the annual holiday party. They may still be harboring hurt feelings and may feel they won’t be good company at a time when everyone is supposed to be merry.

Skip the alcohol or offer other options: Alcohol can trigger negative emotions. Survivors may have emotional mood swings but you certainly don’t want to encourage them to come on. Don’t tempt drinking by having festivities centered around it. Serve a non-alcoholic punch as an option.

Volunteer together: Focusing on helping others might be a good way to help this person feel empowered and useful, while also diverting their thoughts from their own struggles.

Forgo material gifts: Your loved one may very well be in financial distress after leaving a violent situation. Suggest exchanging “favors” or handmade gifts instead of something that might cause stress because they don’t have the money.

Make plans: Even if it’s to the movies, make plans with your friend. Giving them something to look forward to and keeping them busy is always helpful.

Of course, the gift that keeps on giving is offering an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on if your friend needs it. Your friend is most likely still on the road to healing and recovery and being able to feel safe and comfortable in expressing their feelings is a part of their healing process. You may not always know what to say but you are able to genuinely comfort this person in a difficult time.

What I Learned at COVA About Reporting Options for Sexual Assault Victims

November 26th, 2019 by ATV Staff

Written by Liz Venable, Victim Response Team Coordinator

Liz joined Alternatives to Violence in the beginning of 2019. Her background is a bachelor’s in human services leadership from University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with a dual minor in women and gender studies and social justice with emphasis in prejudice and discrimination. Liz has worked in victim services since 2013 working with victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking.

This year was the 31st annual COVA conference and my first time attending. COVA brings law enforcement, victim advocates, lawyers, social workers and counselors together from across the state and surrounding states. Attendees have the opportunity to network, learn, and teach other colleagues on their experience in victim assistance. The annual COVA (Colorado Organization for Assistance) conference in Keystone provided over 72 workshops over a four-day period. I will share some insight on an important topic from one of those workshops.

Recently, there have been many articles showing an extreme number of untested forensic exams, also known as sexual assault evidence kits or rape kits, finally being tested after being backlogged for decades that have led to help solve many open or cold cases. Related to this is the workshop I would like to talk about, “Is Sexual Assault Forensic Compliance Working?” This workshop taught me more about reporting options for victims of sexual assault that I’d like to share. After a sexual assault, forensic exams can often retrigger victims and make them feel violated again. Imagine having to go through invasive testing to find evidence to help solve the crime after being assaulted, and then it is backlogged and untested for 30 years? Untested kits prevent justice and healing for survivors and their loved ones everywhere. Testing the kit can identify serial offenders or exonerate wrongfully convicted through DNA evidence. In 2016, Colorado dedicated 3.3 million dollars to process 3,542 untested rape kits, resulting in 691 matches to convicted felons and created an additional 1,556 DNA profiles that can help match cases moving forward.

There are three types of reporting: law enforcement, medical and anonymous. When reporting to law enforcement, this report leads to an investigation and if a forensic exam is completed, the evidence will be collected and analyzed. With new laws in place, if a survivor opts in to move forward with an investigation, any new kit must be sent in within 21 days to be tested to prevent further backlog. If a victim wants to go the medical report route, an exam is done and the kit identifying information is provided to law enforcement but no charges are filed and no investigation is done. This gives the victim the power to report with evidence if and when they are ready. The last option is an anonymous report where a rape kit is done but given a number with no identifying information and is connected to a medical record. It is stored for a minimum of two years. If a victim wants to report moving forward, they will have to use the medical record to make an additional report to law enforcement or medical staff.

By providing options for survivors, it empowers them to make the best decision for them as every case is very different. It is crucial for medical staff, law enforcement and victim advocates to know about these options to be able to explain the pros and cons for each option and give the power back to the survivor. It is important to advocate for sexual assault evidence kit reform to make testing kits a priority. Especially with the current outrage from our communities, survivors, and advocates about untested kits, it is important to give the power back to the survivor and being able to support them in making their decision.

Reasons to Give on Colorado Gives Day

November 12th, 2019 by ATV Staff

Welcome to the new ATV blog! Our goal is to make this blog a valuable resource that provides helpful and timely information on ways to help victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking right here in our community.