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Police CPS Courts Civil Legal Advocacy Community DV Advocate Specialist DV Support Services Substance Abuse Services Human Services - Benefits Agency Health/Mental Health Other Victim Support

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Individual

Police

CPS

Courts

Civil Legal Advocacy

Community DV Advocate

Specialist DV Support Services

Substance Abuse Services

Human Services - Benefits Agency

Health/Mental Health

Other Victim Support

Employment Specialist

Safe Shelter

Extended / Transitional Housing

Long-term Housing

Police

CPS

Courts

Probation

Probation + Perpetrator Tx

Substance Abuse Services

Community Programs:

Victim Support

Services – SafeHouse, Safeguard, PAVE, DOVE, VOA Brandon, CLS, DCCV, DDFL (Animal Cruelty Investigator), Asian Pacific, DVI, DIHFS, VSN et al

Educate

Trust

Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements Local Safeguarding Children Boards

Social Care Education Schools CAMHS Health Specialist DV Services Voluntary Community Sector Housing Police Probation Courts CJS

Coordination

Equality

Community

Friends

Perpetrator

Individual

Family

Schools

Public Sector

Juvenile Services

Nursery/Child Care

Educational Welfare

Child Protection Services

Educational Psychology

Children’s Mental Health

Faith Groups

Youth Groups

Health

Colleagues

Child

Immediate Network

Primary Agency Contact

Neighbours

Individual Agency Risk Assessments

Safety Planning Process

Coordinated Community Response to IPV


In the beginning

In the Beginning -

  • 1976 - Denver DA’s Office is one of a few sites nationally awarded LEAA grant money to develop victim services. The office initiates a system which victims and witnesses are notified of case status and are on call for hearings. One full time advocate works with families of homicide victims, victims of assaults, aggravated robberies and sexual assaults. A Victim/witness area is established in Room 492 of the City and County Building.

  • 1978 - The first shelters for battered women & their children are opened in Colorado – 2 in the Denver area.

  • 1982 - Denver’s Crime Victim Compensation Board is started.


Onward into herstory

Onward into herstory

  • 1982 - Statute creates “Domestic Abuse Restraining Orders”; allow for specific provisions like exclusion from a shared residence, listing of addresses and distance to stay away from, etc. – provided some relief for non-married partners; options besides petitioning for divorce. Amended in ‘89 to clarify jurisdictional issues and & in ‘91 to add provision of temporary care and control of children.

  • 1984 Denver establishes a probable cause / mandatory arrest policy in domestic violence cases; in part motivated by a threatened class action lawsuit on behalf of battered women. Note: PC / Mandatory arrest did not become state law until 1994.

  • 1985The Domestic Violence Unit is formed in the City Attorney’s Office to assist victims of domestic violence crimes filed at the municipal level. For the first time, domestic violence defendants are held in jail until the next session of Court so the judge may set bond after reviewing the defendant’s history. Court is held every day except Sunday.


Cut to the chase the real work begins

Cut to the Chase – The Real Work Begins

  • 1986 Denver Domestic Violence Task Force is established: creating an on-going forum for system and community based organizations to address concerns and find solutions regarding domestic violence policy and intervention. Published the first Manual containing the policies for police, prosecutors, probation and the courts.


Individual

  • 1986 The Denver DA’s Office establishes a specialized DV Unit, which includes a victim advocate, to allow for vertical prosecution of felony domestic violence and child abuse crimes.

  • 1988Legislative creation of a State Commission to establish a code of standards for treatment of domestic violence offenders; mandates that anyone convicted of a DV crime shall be ordered into a treatment program certified in accordance with the standards.

  • 1989The DPD Victim Assistance Unit expands services to victims to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • 1991 Denver city ordinance is passed that prohibits domestic violence crimes from being on the bonding schedule and personal recognizance “PR” bonds are banned without the agreement of the prosecutor.


And the beat goes on

And The Beat Goes On ……

  • 1991 Violation of a restraining order is made a crime, as opposed to a civil contempt action. In addition to the state statute, Denver also passes a city ordinance to allow for criminal prosecution of violation of restraining orders at the municipal level.

  • The Denver Domestic Violence Manual is revised and specifies the determination of “primary physical aggressor”. The Manual is printed and distributed to anyone & everyone who potentially has contact with either a domestic violence victim or offender (or both). We receive many requests for the “Manual” from all over the country because very few jurisdictions have effective and enduring “Domestic Violence Task forces”

  • 1992- 93 Colorado passes the Victim Rights Amendment, providing Constitutional rights to certain crime victims. Denver’s Protective Orders Courtroom (303W) opens; one of the nation’s first dedicated courtrooms issuing civil restraining orders and providing on-site legal advocacy for victims.


And on and on and on

And on and on and on …

  • 1994Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is passed federally, putting in place certain firearm restrictions for persons convicted of a domestic violence crime or under the provisions of a restraining order. Also provided for “full faith and credit” to restraining orders issued in any state and the ability for victims to sue batterers for civil damages. VAWA also establishes federal grant funds to encourage police and prosecution to develop policies and programs addressing domestic violence.

  • Significant legislative changes also occurred in Colorado, including: Crime of “harassment by stalking” distinguished from “harassment”; considers a credible threat made directly or indirectly to another person. Mandates 60 day minimum jail when a restraining order prohibiting any behavior defined as stalking is already in place prior to the stalking crime.

  • Redefined terms used in domestic violence statutes and clarifies definition of “intimate relationship”.


And on and on

And on and on …

  • Established probable cause / mandatory arrest statewide; to avoid inappropriate dual arrests, requires law enforcement to evaluate each complaint separately; mandates police to remove arrested person from the scene and transport to station for booking; authorizes police to use every reasonable means to protect victim or children in preventing further violence; requires documents in a criminal case to indicate on the face of the document when it is domestic violence.

  • Prohibits a defendant from entering a guilty or no contest plea to an offense which does not include the domestic violence designation, unless the prosecutor shows on the record that the relationship between the parties doesn’t meet the DV definition.

  • Prohibits deferred prosecution in domestic violence cases.


And on

and on

  • Extends testimonial privilege to private victim advocates.

  • Clarifies admissibility of prior acts of domestic violence in the prosecution of domestic violence cases.

  • Lists additional items the court may order in MRO’s, including vacating the victim’s home, prohibiting contact, possession of firearms or other weapons, possession or consumption of alcohol or controlled substances.

  • Instructs the court to state to the defendant on the record the terms of the restraining order before they are released on bail.

  • Requires treatment of a domestic violence offender, unless a treatment provider determines it to be inappropriate.

  • Renders any person accused or convicted of a domestic violence crime ineligible for home detention in the home of the victim.


And on1

and on

  • Prohibits an incarcerated defendant from making phone calls to anyone other than his attorney if the victim can show defendant has called in violation of a RO.

  • Requires courts issuing restraining orders to report the content of such orders to a central State Registry maintained by CBI; requires CBI to maintain that registry and provides that all state and local law enforcement have access to the data.

  • Prohibits the court from issuing “automatic” mutual restraining orders; requires opposing parties to each meet the burden of proof and the court to make separate and sufficient finding of fact.


And then

And then ……..

  • Allows the court when issuing a restraining order to include “parenting time”, conditions of such time, including supervision by a third party. Allows court to deny parenting time if it finds that the safety of the child or the protected party cannot be ensured.

  • Increases the crime of violation of restraining order to a Class 2 misdemeanor for the 1st violation and a Class 2 misdemeanor for a defendant who has a prior conviction for a VRO. Reiterates that any sentence imposed for a VRO run consecutively, not concurrently, with any sentence imposed for any crime which gave rise to the issuance of the restraining order.

  • 1995Clarifies that physicians have a duty to report immediately to the police any injury resulting from domestic violence.


Things are still changing

Things are still changing ………

  • 1996 Denver Police Department establishes the Domestic Violence Unit, with a Sergeant and 4 detectives assigned to investigate misdemeanor and felony crimes.

  • 1996 Denver’s Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee is established through a collaborative grant with Project Safeguard and the Denver Police Department, to review homicides and suicides that occur in a domestic violence related incident in order to gain better understanding of the dynamics.

  • 1998 Denver District Attorney’s Office establishes a Domestic Violence ‘Fast Track’ program, to develop earlier intervention with victims and timely consequences to offenders.

  • 1998New statute allows for increased penalties on the second and all subsequent violations of a restraining order convictions obtained at the state level.


The ball is in our court

The Ball is in our Court

  • 1998Legislation provides state funding for domestic violence shelters; Colorado was only 1 of 2 states nationally that had not provided some level of state funding to DV programs.

  • 1999Domestic violence habitual offender statute is passed, providing increased sanctions for misdemeanor offenders with 3 or more prior domestic violence convictions.

  • 1999 Legislation provides for enhanced sentencing in misdemeanor and felony domestic violence cases when the victim was pregnant at the time of the offense, and defendant knew she was pregnant.

  • 2000 Legislation requires police officers responding to a domestic violence call to make note in their report if children may have seen or heard the incident; also requires civil court to inform parties petitioning for parental responsibilities about domestic violence services and encourage the parties to obtain such services for their children.


Initial commitments

Initial commitments

  • Agency leaders, practitioners, victim advocates collaborating to write each participating agency’s policies and protocols.

  • Moving a case from one step to the next so that each person involved acts in a way that protects victims and contains offenders.

  • Adhere to foundation principals (whatever that means to your community)


Getting started

Getting Started

  • Do you have the political will – the commitment to take on such a project?

  • The advocacy program & agency leaders need to agree on a central role for advocates to comment on to help shape policies & procedures.

  • Determine who will coordinate the effort.


Keep going

Keep Going

  • Facilitate an exploratory (hunting expedition) meeting between stakeholders. Maybe invite someone from another Blueprint Community to do a briefing on their experience.

  • If you’re going forward you need a WORKING committee!

  • Be inclusive! You’re not only going to “work together” you’re kinda moving in together.


Individual

More

  • Always factor in sustainability of the vision (and the bricks & mortar.)

  • Respect each representatives position & experiences.

  • Confidentiality rules!! (As in a verb.)


Denver s triage review team

Denver’s Triage Review Team

  • History of DV Triage Review Team

  • Started with the question, “What if we could ALL talk about the DV cases on a daily basis?”

  • DV is a crime about context: information on a police report will not provide a complete picture.

  • Began in January 2006

  • Funded by a grant from OVW


Triage con t

Triage con’t

  • The Triage team is a dynamic coordinated community response to domestic violence designed to enhance safety and earlier utilization of services for victims and to increase containment for offenders.

  • Main goals: better contain offenders and provide services to victims more rapidly regardless of case status.


The triage philosophy

The Triage Philosophy

  • The intent of Triage is to collaboratively:

    • review cases for appropriate interventions,

    • proactively and effectively serve victims,

    • assess risk,

    • enhance interagency communication,

    • provide home visits to victims,

    • refile cases at appropriate levels, and

    • increase efficiency of all services.


Triage partners from the system

Triage Partners From the System

  • Denver District Attorney’s Office

  • Denver City Attorney’s Office

  • Denver Police Department, Victim Assistance Unit

  • Denver Police Department, Domestic Violence Unit

  • Denver Adult Probation


Triage partners from the community

Triage Partners From the Community

  • Denver Domestic Violence Coordinating Council

  • Project Safeguard

  • SafeHouse Denver

  • University of Denver (for the research component)

  • CO Legal Services


Daily process before triage

Daily Process: Before Triage

Triage Coordinator:

  • Receives new police reports from DPD

  • Researches defendants’ criminal histories

  • Enters information in database

  • Creates triage assessment forms

    The District Attorney’s Office:

  • Review cases to accept, decline, or refile


Daily process before triage1

Daily Process: Before Triage

The DPD Victim Assistance Unit:

  • Contacts victims to provide outreach and informs them a community-based organization will be contacting them (if appropriate)

    The City Attorney’s Office:

  • Identifies cases that need to be refiled

  • Contact victims from new municipal cases

  • Take to Triage cases in which victims are requesting community outreach services


Daily process before triage2

The DPD Domestic Violence Unit:

Conducts further investigations on state-charged domestic violence cases

Daily Process: Before Triage


Daily process

Daily Process

  • Held Mon. – Fri., 10:30 a.m. – 12:00

  • Cases are typically presented by a DPD DV Detective or Supervising Sergeant

  • Cases are assessed for risk; high-risk cases receive the most discussion

  • Referrals are made based on the VAU’s contact with the victim, assessment of risk, and services requested

  • Home visits are recommended in high-risk cases or in cases where the VAU has been unable to make contact


Triage outcomes

Triage Outcomes

  • Triage team can track patterns of abuse, recidivism, multiple warrants, and successful pick-ups on fugitive cases.

  • Probation officers receive earlier notices of reoffenses, probation violations, & info on fugitive arrests.

  • The team identifies system and/or intervention challenges to find better solutions.

  • Everyone works with the same information.


Triage assessment form

Triage Assessment Form

  • Insert sample form here


Confidentiality

Confidentiality

  • One-way flow of information to community-based organizations

  • Frustrations arise when CBOs can’t share outcomes of cases

  • All participants signed a Memo of Understanding between agencies & Confidentiality Agreement

  • Statistics are reported in aggregate to preserve confidentiality


Role of technology

Role of Technology

  • Database created by CiviCore to capture information on all cases reviewed in Triage

  • Only those actively participating in the Triage process have access; computer-specific

  • Multiple firewalls and security measures were put in place

  • Generates case reports used in Triage

  • Can help the team see trends

    • Multiple cases for one defendant

    • Includes cases that weren’t filed


Role of the steering committee

Role of the Steering Committee

  • Representatives from each partner agency attend the monthly meetings.

  • Topics addressed include training issues, communication flow, procedural issues, the research component, and more.

  • Communication is key to the project’s success; the Steering Committee helps enhance inter-agency communication.


How triage can mitigate risk

How Triage Can Mitigate Risk

  • Triage process links victims with community resources sooner

  • Networking systems and community resources may result in better meeting the victims’ needs

  • Advocates, prosecutors, and law enforcement can all help victims better understand that they cannot control the abusers’ behavior; all involved can help safeguard the victims and their children.


How triage can mitigate risk1

How Triage Can Mitigate Risk

  • Charging cases at appropriate levels, considering the following:

    • Greatest containment of the defendant

    • Dynamics of the charges

    • Revealing the façade of the defendant

    • Future charges

  • Wrapping the victim in services, even if charges are dismissed or not filed


How triage can mitigate risk2

How Triage Can Mitigate Risk

  • Identifying risk factors with police, prosecution & probation can better protect victims, contain offenders

  • Identifying warrant cases that merit special attention

  • Identifying cases for home visits from law enforcement


Home visits

Home Visits

  • Utilized to add an extra layer of safety for victims

  • Especially helpful for isolated, unreachable victims

  • DPD VAU advocate accompanies detective whenever possible

  • Exculpatory evidence revealed to DA/CA

  • Information taken back to Triage team

  • If requested, outreach services then provided


Benefits of triage to prosecution

Benefits of Triage to Prosecution

  • Stalking behaviors may be identified.

  • May lead to more cooperative victims in court.

  • May identify uncharged crimes that can be prosecuted along with current charges.

  • May identify past criminal history, beyond domestic violence arrests.

  • Can refile cases at higher (or lower) levels.

  • May lead to enhanced sentencing.


Benefits of triage to victims

Benefits of Triage to Victims

  • They have fewer numbers to call.

  • They don’t have to tell as much of their story when the outreach is made.

  • They are linked with services sooner and regardless of case filing.

  • The process of accessing services for themselves & their children becomes less overwhelming.

  • Proactive outreach from a CBO and Home Visits can help break the victim’s isolation.


Unforeseen challenges

Unforeseen Challenges

  • Revolving team members: almost every agency involved has experienced some degree of staff turnover.

  • Keeping the vision alive becomes more difficult with each personnel change.

  • Making sure the right staff are attending from each partner agency


Unforeseen challenges1

Unforeseen Challenges

  • Initial resistance when trying to get all the right people to the table

  • Balancing time spent between building relationships and staying on topic

  • Project needs a strong coordinator to keep the group and process on track.

  • Discussion can sometimes stray into “CSI mode”


Unforeseen challenges2

Unforeseen Challenges

  • Setting appropriate boundaries between team members; helping everyone understand confidentiality limitations

  • Having enough time to fully review all the high-risk cases on heavy volume days

  • Determining which cases need home visits; adequately relaying information learned at the home visits

  • Balancing outreach versus intrusiveness


Unforeseen benefits

Unforeseen Benefits

  • Increased cross-training between all the partners and their staff

  • Collaborative training provided by partners to the community

  • A unified response to issues raised, without sacrificing our ability to hold each other accountable

  • Cross referrals beyond the realm of Triage


Unforeseen benefits1

Unforeseen Benefits

  • Raised consciousness of how CBOs can be more useful to victims AND of how the system can help victims

  • Team members think about risk factors versus a unilateral response to all victims of domestic violence

  • Less information is falling through the cracks.


Unforeseen benefits2

Unforeseen Benefits

  • Since implementing the Triage process, the Denver City Attorney’s Office has achieved a 6% decrease in the dismissal of domestic violence cases.

  • Volume: in 2007, 3,568 incidents were entered in the CiviCore database.


Lessons learned

Lessons Learned

  • Anticipate turnover

  • Build in an ongoing training component

  • Different people will see the benefits of Triage at different times. If possible, help them “connect the dots” as early in the process as possible.


Success stories

Success Stories

  • “I really was afraid to call the cops. He told me over and over if I did (call) they wouldn’t believe me or they’d see that I was crazy or, worse, I’d be arrested. They were very kind and took the time to explain what would happen. They were especially nice to my two boys who were real upset.”

    • Judy


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