NewsCovering Colorado


Pueblo group wants public registry for domestic violence

Several women with personal stories related to domestic violence came together to create the petition.
Posted at 7:55 PM, Oct 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-22 01:33:13-04

PUEBLO — Over 9,600 people have signed a petition is support of Colorado creating a public registry for abusers found guilty of domestic violence.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and October 21 is Purple Thursday, a national recognition of survivors of domestic violence.

The group spearheading the idea of a public registry wants to use the month to push their petition.

"The benefits would be that if somebody were dangerous, there's a chance that you could find their name on that list and stay away from them," said Gabrielle Skubal, who lost her best friend, Nicole Stephenson to domestic violence.

Stephenson's abuser pleaded guilty to manslaughter earlier this year and will serve 18 years in prison. Stephenson eventually died of injuries sustained after her ex-boyfriend, Nathan Turner, beat her.

Skubal fears once he is released, other women will fall victim to his abuse.

"If she had known that this is the kind of monster she was dealing with, there's a huge chance she wouldn't have gotten this far into the relationship. So, to prevent someone else from going through that is super important to me," said Skubal.

Skubal began "Nicole's Army" and connected with others who have had similar experiences, like Kate Ferguson.

The two women and other advocates for domestic violence victims created the petition with a goal of reaching 10,000 signatures and getting the attention of Governor Jared Polis, hoping to spark change.

"We should be doing something so that this is less of an issue, not just having an awareness month," said Skubal.

Right now, the petition has 9,630 signatures.

The registry would be similar to the sex offender registry that already exists.

The Pueblo Police Department says, depending on the offender, they must come into the department and provide "their fingerprints... Some contact information, where they live, contact number, where they work".

They say if an offender fails to provide their information, a warrant is issued.

However, PPD says with any registry there will be startup costs.

"In theory it's just - Oh you put them in a website. Well, who is going to take their pictures? Who is going to fill out the paperwork? There's going to be a lot of time-intensive, manpower-intensive things to get it off the ground," said Sergeant Frank Ortega.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation has violent offenders listed on a public registry.

How can a petition impact laws in Colorado?

The domestic violence registry petition has a goal of reaching 10,000 signatures. The website where the women created the petition requires 10,000 signatures for the "petition to be sent to everyone on the decision makers list including the Governor," said Ferguson.

The advocates hope to "set up a meeting with him (Governor Jared Polis) either in person or over the phone and ask him if we have his support," said Ferguson.

According to the Colorado General Assembly, the number of "valid" signatures required for a statewide ballot in 2021 and 2020 is 124,632.

The petitions and proposals are meant to be filed with the Secretary of State, not the Governor.

The last day to submit signatures to Secretary of State for the 2022 election is 3:00 pm on August 8, 2022.