Since 1979,Tu Casa has been on a mission to empower children and adults to live healthy lives, free of domestic violence and sexual assault. Tu Casa remains dedicated to continuously seeking new and more effective ways to empower, serve and educate the San Luis Valley (SLV) community about these important issues.
Tu Casa was created to address the needs of victims and their families throughout the 6 counties of the SLV, a primarily rural area, comprised of approximately 8,000 sq. miles and an estimated population of 50,000. Resident victims are often unaware of or unable to access resources available in more urban areas along the Front Range because of the barriers of poverty, geographic isolation, language and culture issues, and limited transportation options. The overall poverty rate in the region is 22% (Saguache County is 31%) (2010 Census), with approximately 47% of the Valley's population of Hispanic decent. Approximately 99% of Tu Casa’s clientele fit into one or more categories considered underserved, be it low-income, unemployed, Spanish-speaking, rural, disabled, uninsured, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) or immigrant.
Tu Casa was originally established as the only resource for domestic violence victims in crisis in the entire region, and its primary service was a crisis hotline that victims could call when in danger or hoping to flee an abusive relationship. Over time, Tu Casa’s services have become more holistic, including counseling and community education.
Up until 2009, Tu Casa was primarily know as a domestic violence program, although its mission had always been to serve sexual assault victims. Intense outreach and education conducted throughout the Valley resulted in a 300% increase in the number of child and adult victims of sexual assault and abuse seeking Tu Casa’s services in the ensuring years. In addition, a survey of Tu Casa’s domestic violence victims revealed that the vast majority had suffered from sexual violence, also. Because the majority of Tu Casa’s clients have suffered from multiple victimizations (domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, child abuse, etc.), Tu Casa continues to strive toward providing impactful, trauma-informed services that truly fit the unique needs of those they serve.
This emphasis on the interconnectedness of all the victimizations Tu Casa serves ultimately led the agency toward the creation of specialized, trauma-focused services for child abuse victims, especially child sexual abuse victims. As the number of victims seeking services continues to rise (17% in 2011, 8% in 2012 and 18% in 2013), Tu Casa hopes that by providing child victims with comprehensive, trauma-informed services they can ultimately heal from these victimizations and not go one to enter into unhealthy relationships as adults.