New Colorado bill would try to curb domestic violence

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DENVER — Lawmakers on Monday will be introduced to a bill aimed at reducing domestic violence by setting up a statewide domestic violence fatality review board.

Denver already has a review board, but if the bill passes, a statewide board would be established that would review domestic violence cases that resulted in death.

From there, the board would look for missed opportunities, including times someone could have had an intervention with the victim.

“This isn’t about pointing fingers or placing blame at all, that’s not going to do anyone any good. It’s just looking at were there things that could have been done differently and prevented these deaths from happening,” said Jenn Doe.

Doe’s estranged husband tried to kill her 10 years ago. Doe had gone back to their apartment to collect her email. Her best friend Pam went with her.

Doe’s estranged husband attacked her with pepper spray and stabbed her. He also attacked Pam, who was able to escape the apartment to get help, but she later died from her injuries.

“I really see her as my hero. I don’t know if I would have lived through this experience. And I know she was there to protect me,” Doe said. “I want to continue her memory and be a voice for her because she’s not here to speak for herself.”

Doe said at the time, she didn’t realize she was a victim of domestic violence. However, in the years since the attack and Pam’s death, she realized there were warning signs in their relationship.

“It was things like jealousy and extreme control behavior and possessiveness, and lots of the more manipulative forms of emotional abuse,” Doe said. “There had been a lot of red flags and warning signs in the relationship, but none of them were physical abuse so it wasn’t the things that I thought of as domestic violence.”

Now Doe believes this bill can help other victims before it’s too late. She’ll tell her story to lawmakers Monday in hopes of persuading them to pass the bill.

Attorney General Cynthia Coffman said her office has been meeting with domestic violence groups across the state. Together, they’ve worked together to come up with the bill.

“Let’s do a better job at the beginning of a problem. Let’s figure out a way to tell a victim, ‘Here are your options and here is how we can help.’ And we think we can stop some of these situations from happening,” Coffman said.

The board would be made up of a variety of members: Domestic violence survivors, social service providers, health care and mental health representatives, law enforcement and prosecutors.

Each year, the board would submit a written report of its recommendations to the legislature. In the report, the board would make recommendations on how to improve response to domestic violence based off the data they collected and analyzed that year.

The bill will be introduced in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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