Avon – Bright Future Foundation recently received a visit from Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman as part of a listening tour. Bright Future was selected for its efforts in the prevention and intervention of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Coffman’s office is partnering with organizations like Bright Future to assess domestic violence prevention efforts in the state. Two goals of the listening tour are to learn what gaps and needs exist in individual service areas and to determine how to further the work of the organizations.
Potential barriers for survivors to leave abusive relationship were discussed. A major barrier in the Vail Valley is affordable housing for survivors and their families.
“Bright Future is fortunate in that we offer both crisis and healing services, including our hotline, Freedom Ranch Safehouse and transitional housing,” said Casey Wolfington, Clinical Director. “However, we have considered adjusting our shelter model in the long-term to allow for extended shelter.”
One idea is to offer a few individual family units within the Safehouse, similar to a room in an extended stay hotel. A kitchenette and bathroom could be provided within each unit to allow for privacy and security. The current length of stay in the Safehouse is 45 days. The new model could allow for a stay of six months, for example.
The attorney general’s office is also creating a state-wide training program for law enforcement, judges and district attorneys. The idea is to empower these professionals on reporting and prosecuting domestic violence and sexual assault cases.
“We create survivor success, says Wolfington. “But we also want to help create law enforcement success too.”
Since taking office in 2015, Attorney General Coffman has committed efforts to community outreach. An outcome has been establishing an Office of Community Engagement concentrating on partnerships with community members and professionals for solutions to challenging social issues.