The mission of the Denver Domestic Violence Coordinating Council is to develop and enhance “Best Practices” in Denver that increase the safety of victims by leading a multidisciplinary forum to improve the system / community response to domestic violence. DDVCC also strives to fill gaps in existing victim services.
The Denver Domestic Violence Coordinating Council (DDVCC) began as a task force in 1984, to address the issues around the mandatory arrest law (C.R.S. 18-6-803.6). A group of domestic violence advocates, Denver officials, police officers, attorneys, offender treatment providers, and community members recognized there was a need for coordination and collaboration to provide successful systems change and oversight. The DDVCC obtained its 501(C)(3) status in 1985, and for the past 26 years DDVCC has been a strong, multi-disciplinary, participant-driven forum for directing a coordinated response to domestic violence. The organization strives to keep victims safe and hold abuser accountable.
The DDVCC recognizes how devastating the impacts of domestic violence are on individuals, families, communities, and society as a whole. In 2010, through the Triage project, DDVCC participated in case review and risk assessment of over 1,000 domestic violence cases reported to Denver Police. The DDVCC is the only forum for a truly coordinated response in Denver, and it provides the most effective avenue for system improvement in a city that processes the most domestic violence cases in Colorado.
The DDVCC is often the first contacted when concerns or problems arise regarding a domestic violence response. Here are a few examples of the impact our organization is having:
Coordinated Community Response – A key role of the DDVCC is to impact domestic violence protocols. Recent improvements were made to the Denver Police Department forms used in tracking domestic violence information; the Triage Project is now able to provide an immediate response to domestic violence cases; and child abuse reports are shared among law enforcement, women’s advocates, and the Department of Human Services Child Protection Team, in order to better serve victims.
Community Education – The DDVCC brings speakers from participant agencies and the community to present at monthly meetings to help other participant agencies stay on top of key issues, at no cost to members. In collaboration with local system and community agencies, the DDVCC has developed and hosted regular conferences for the public. The DDVCC staff have presented workshops at local and national conferences, including CO Organization of Victim Assistance (COVA), Domestic Violence Sex Offender Management Board (DVSOMB), CO Div. of Criminal Justice, & the US Dept. of Justice/Battered Women Justice Project Conference.
Denver Metro Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee – In 2008, the DDVCC began managing the 12-year-old system/community agency collaboration. The goal is to help reduce domestic violence related deaths by identifying common occurrences and risk factors. The project goes beyond reviewing and disseminating information on DV fatalities, to using the data to make positive changes in intervention tactics for specialists all over Colorado. We maintain the only statewide tally of domestic violence deaths. Of interest, when the CO Bureau of Investigation (CBI), typically the “go-to” source of crime statistics, tallies their domestic violence related deaths they do not include children, same sex partners, collateral deaths or suicides. There is a need for these statistics, and DDVCC fills that need.
The DV / Child Protection Services Committee – The focus of this committee is to improve relationships between Child Protection Services and domestic violence providers when there’s overlap of domestic violence and child abuse. This Committee has created “Best Practices Protocols” for responding to cases involving both DV and child abuse.
Public Awareness Campaign – This is a replication of a successful New Zealand community awareness campaign. The committee is conducting focus groups and seeking funding to create a commercial that would educate the public on family violence and its effects on families and communities. The message is that “It’s not OK, but it is OK to ask for help.”
The DDVCC believes that the sharing of information, community education, collaborative impact on policy, and protocol changes can impact the overall community response to domestic violence. We believe that any victim who is served by a participating agency or system is positively impacted by our work. The combined community/ system response to domestic violence is extremely complex, and often an apparent solution offered by one group creates problems in other parts of the community. Only when all professions work together can we best help individuals and families and work to prevent future violence. An affiliation of community and justice system representatives prevents domestic violence cases from slipping thorough the cracks while forging a less insular process of developing domestic violence related policies. The collaboration created by the DDVCC allows us to go beyond the direct services provided by each agency to a broader concept of advocacy that encompasses the social change that is required to end domestic violence in our community.