News, Upcoming Trainings, Other Resources

February Is...

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. This month, we join other advocates in raising awareness about dating violence in relationship and using best practices to encourage safe and healthy behaviors in relationships.
Young people and adult allies worked together in 2005 to ensure that teen dating abuse was highlighted in the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. In 2006, Congress joined several organizations at all levels in addressing dating abuse and violence by declaring the first week in February to be National Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Week." February was officially declared as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month in 2010. 

Resources on Teen Dating Violence

Break the Cycle: inspires and supports young people 12-24 to build healthy relationships and create a culture without abuse. 
Teen Dating Violence: provides resources for youth, adults and communities interested in learning more about teen dating violence.
National Resource Center for Domestic Violence: this site hosts a collection of resources dedicated to the prevention of teen dating violence. 
Circle of 6: an app designed for college students to prevent sexual violence that is also valuable to teens and individuals seeking to foster healthy relationships and safety.
MyPlan: this app helps determine if if a friend or family member is in an unsafe intimate relationship and how to support them. 
Healthy Relationships PSA: this video features youth from the Muckleshoot tribe in coordination with We R Native. 

Coalition Updates

2019 Membership Renewals Begin Soon!

Our 2019 membership renewal process begins soon! Keep an eye out for renewal information in the coming month.
As you look forward to renewing your membership, consider some of the great benefits of being a Violence Free Colorado member, and email Tamika Matthews at with any questions!
Liz Stuewe, 
Training and TA Manager

Training and TA Update

This month Violence Free Colorado joined phase II of Project Catalyst, a national initiative led by Futures Without Violence focused on fostering intimate partner violence (IPV), human trafficking, and health leadership and collaboration at the U.S. state/territory level to improve the health and safety outcomes for survivors of IPV and human trafficking and to promote prevention. Colorado is honored to join North Carolina and Guam in this work. The initial project will partner Family Tree, Summit Advocates for Victims of Assault, and Hilltop Domestic Violence Services/Latimer House with their local community health clinics to promote policies and practices that support ongoing integration of the IPV and human trafficking response into health care delivery. Violence Free Colorado will continue to grow these partnerships and provide training and technical assistance resources statewide as community based organizations work together to build survivor-centered access to health care.

Lydia Waligorski, Public Policy Director

Policy Update

Hello Colleagues,
Violence Free Colorado is working with other partners to include paid safe leave in the Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) Act for 2019. Paid safe leave helps survivors of violence access critical services without risking losing their job or financial security. Be sure to sign up to receive our Policy Action Alerts to stay connected through the legislative session.

Also, MomsRising will host several Paid Family Leave Listening Tours across the state with more information. We hope both survivors and advocates will consider attending and letting them know that Safe Leave is integral to survivor safety and financial well-being. Visit our website to see when the tour comes to your town, and email me,, with questions.

Staffing Update

Our staff continues to grow here at Violence Free Colorado. Say hello to the newest member of our team!
Brandy Walega, 
Training and TA Specialist
I’m thrilled to join the Violence Free Colorado staff! I have worked with survivors of domestic violence since 1999 in a variety of capacities, including on-site crisis advocacy, treatment victim advocacy for domestic violence offender treatment, and community-based advocacy. Throughout these roles, I have had many opportunities to conduct trainings and offer support to other advocates, and I am excited to draw from all of these experiences in my new position here at Violence Free Colorado. I’ve also been a member of the Colorado Domestic Violence Offender Management Board (DVOMB) since 2013, where I have presided as Vice Chair for four years. Additionally, I’ve been active on the DVOMB Victim Advocacy Committee since 2011 and am currently the Chair of that committee. 

I’m originally from Michigan but have been in Colorado for just over 20 years now – so Colorado is definitely home for me. In my free time I enjoy making art, baking, and hiking.

I look forward to working with you to support your Technical Assistance and Training needs. Please feel free to contact me at (303) 962-0939 or

Upcoming Trainings

Web-Based Trainings

All times are MST
Feb. 12, 1 p.m.: Perceiving Credibility: Judicial Decision-Making in Domestic Violence Protective Order Cases. Presented by the Battered Women's Justice Project. 
Feb. 13, 1 p.m.Learning to Love Ourselves: Incorporating Compassion Care in our Work. Presented by the National Indigenous Women's Resource Center. 
Feb. 13, 1:30 p.m.: Sport is Part of the Solution to End Sexual and Domestic Violence. Presented by Prevent Connect. 
Feb. 19, 1 p.m.Introduction and Overview of the National Domestic Violence and Firearms Resource Center for OVW Grantees. Presented by the Battered Women's Justice Project. 
Feb. 21, 11 a.m.: Unrapable: Sexual Violence in Black Communities. Presented by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. 
March 29, 11 a.m.: Beyond Shelter: What Do Domestic Violence Survivors Need? Presented by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Do you have an upcoming training or event that you'd like to share with the Violence Free Colorado community? Post an event on our website calendar!

In Person Trainings, Conferences and Events

April 2: Child Abuse Prevention Month Kickoff Day at the Capitol
Presented by CO4Kids, Colorado Dept. of Human Services, Colorado Heart Gallery, Colorado Foster Care and Illuminate Colorado
Location: Denver, CO
June 5-7: Colorado Advocacy in Action Conference. 
Presented by Violence Free Colorado and CCASA. 
Location: Vail, CO
June 25-27: Wyoming Joint Symposium on Children and Youth
Presented by the WyoJSCY Committee. 
Location: Cheyenne, WY

Resources and Other News

Women are Sacred
2019 Monthly Calendar with awareness dates. Thanks to the National Indigenous Women's Resource Center.

Violence Against Women Act Definitions Unchanged
Recent stories with wide social media distribution suggest that the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) at the Department of Justice has changed the definitions of domestic violence and sexual assault they use to administer grants under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Many people who work in the field have seen these articles and expressed concern about grantees' ability to continue to serve survivors.

The definitions have not changed. The various articles all note that OVW changed the descriptions of domestic violence and sexual assault on their website, which is accurate. Prior to April 2018, along with resources and hotline information, the website included some more detailed, advocacy-based descriptions of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking for the general public. When OVW launched an update of its website in April 2018, those broader advocacy-based descriptions were removed, and replaced with the current statutory definitions in VAWA.

The current federal definitions of DV and SA are essentially the same ones that were in the original VAWA of 1994. For as long as the Department of Justice has been making VAWA grants, grantees (and OVW) have been constrained by these statutory definitions. They are not new.  VAWA was originally part of an omnibus crimes bill, and it was steeped in a particularly criminal-focused legal response. Advocates have been working for years to update and improve the definitions, and in particular, to include a DV definition that is both reflective of the lived experience of survivors, and based on current research and best practice. 

As VAWA Reauthorization is considered this year by the Congress, the definitions will again be a important part of the debate. As always, OVW will continue to be bound by the language of the statute (34 U.S.C. 12991), which can only be amended by Congress.
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