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TCL > September 2003 Issue > Family Violence Program Achievements: 1997-2003

September 2003       Vol. 32, No. 9       Page  57
CBA Family Violence Program

Family Violence Program Achievements: 1997-2003
by Kathleen M. Schoen

In September 1996, Miles Cortez, then President of the Colorado Bar Association ("CBA"), convened a task force. The task force was charged with the responsibility of recommending to the Board of Governors ("BOG") how the CBA’s "resources and incomparable public spirit can be most productively applied" to stem the epidemic of family violence. After eight months of study, the task force presented a proposal to the BOG, recommending the creation of the Family Violence Program ("Program"). The BOG enthusiastically committed to the Program in May 1997.

Since its inception, the Program has participated in the work of several multi-disciplinary task forces. It has developed and provided training for lawyers, judges, Attorney Regulation Counsel, businesses, mediators, Ute Mountain Tribal court personnel, a Ukrainian delegation (lawyers, judges, and government officials), law students, pro bono coordinators, domestic violence service providers, and others. This highly successful Program also has established the following special activities.

Program Activities

Domestic Violence: Make It Your
Business Project






Domestic Violence: Make It Your Business has made great strides toward creating systemic change in responding to domestic violence in the workplace. The goal of the Domestic Violence: Make It Your Business project is to create awareness, build skills, and provide expert assistance to teach Colorado businesses how to deal with domestic violence as it impacts the workplace. Not only has the project exceeded its training goals (see box showing training locations), but it also has expanded the extent and nature of training as the need has revealed itself within individual communities. The project offers information to workplace audiences (executives, managers, and supervisors, as well as human resource and employee assistance professionals) and training to attorneys, law enforcement and threat management professionals, and military personnel.



Training Partners: The CBA’s Family Violence Program enlisted expert training partners for the Domestic Violence: Make It Your Business project, including the following:


• Mountain States Employers Council

• Pinnacol Assurance

• State of Colorado Department of Personnel and Administration

• Greg Cairns (Hall and Evans)

• Kathleen Lower (Otten, Johnson, Robinson, Neff & Ragonetti)

• Betty Bechtel (Dufford, Waldeck, Milburn & Krohn)

• Dave Shultz (Denver Police Department)

• Kristina Matkins (SafeHouse Denver)

• Corinne LaBaron (Project Safeguard)

• Linda Loflin-Petit (AMEND).

These experts provide legal, human resource, employee, and threat management training around the state.


Statewide Training Partner Recognition Ceremony,
January 2003.

Battered Immigrant Project

On April 5, 2003, judges, immigration law attorneys, family law attorneys, law enforcement personnel, and victim advocates attended a full-day seminar on the legal issues involving battered immigrant women and children. National and local experts presented. This conference was held at the CBA–Continuing Legal Education ("CBA–CLE") offices, and was co-sponsored by the Program. Other co-sponsors included the Colorado Justice Information Center, Office of the Attorney General, Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Project Safeguard, Women in Crisis, and VS2000.

From forefront to background: Gayle
Pendleton (National Lawyers Guild),
Cecilia Olavarria (NOW Legal Education
and Defense Fund), Sujata Warrier
(New York State Office for Prevention
of Domestic Violence), and
May Allen (Justice Information).


Link Between Animal Abuse
And Family Violence

Perpetrators of violence often abuse animals before they move on to abusing people. Many perpetrators also use animals as a way to control their victims. The Program, Dumb Friend’s League, Denver District Attorney’s Office, Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, City of Aurora, Denver Police Department, Colorado Veterinary Medical Association, Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and others are exploring ways to collaborate to create awareness and develop resources for the community.



"Our children’s future and the world’s future are one."

Henry Kempe, MD


Kids and the Courts

It is important to identify promising practices in the justice system when dealing with children who are victims and/or witnesses of domestic violence. The Children’s Committee of the CBA’s Family Violence Program is exploring ways to minimize the trauma to child victims and witnesses. Beginning in October 2003, promising practices and information will be available as part of a Program website:


The Colorado Lawyer

The Program publishes four articles annually on family violence issues. To date, the following articles were published in The Colorado Lawyer in 2002–2003:

• Parrott, "Financial Exploitation of the Elderly: How Lawyers Can Help Protect Their Clients," 31 The Colorado Lawyer 39 (Aug. 2002).

• Ventrell, "Child Maltreatment and the Role of Colorado Lawyers," 31 The Colorado Lawyer 79 (Oct. 2002).

• Pendleton and Block, "Applications for Immigration Status Under the Violence Against Women Act," 32 The Colorado Lawyer 43 (March 2003).

CBA Family Violence Program
Steering Committee

Bill Walters
Current Chair

Miles Cortez
Former Chair

Dale Harris

Bob Hill
Former Chair

Jonathan Asher, Colorado Legal Services, Denver

Suzanne Griffiths, Gutterman and Griffiths, LLP, Lone Tree

Sheila Gutterman, Gutterman and Griffiths, LLP, Lone Tree

Pat Hall, Maynes, Bradford, Shipps & Sheftel, Durango

Robert Hill, Hill and Robbins, Denver

Dale Harris, Davis, Graham & Stubbs, LLP, Denver

Elizabeth McCann, Colorado Attorney General’s Office, Denver

Mary Phillips, Powers Phillips PC, Denver

Bill Ritter, Denver District Attorney, Denver

Shari Shink, Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center, Denver

Carol Simmons, Durango

Theresa Spahn, Colorado Office of Child’s Representative, Denver

Bill Walters, Walters and Joyce, Denver—Chair

Judge Richard Weinberg, Colorado Municipal Judges Association

Timothy Whitsitt, McFlynn, Pickett, Doremus & Whitsitt, Carbondale

Betty Wytias, Colorado Attorney General’s Office, Denver


Attorneys who wish to volunteer for any of the projects described above may contact Kathleen Schoen, Program Director:; (303) 824-5305 or (800) 332-6736.

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