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1980s - 1980s

In 1981, a small group of women attorneys in the Denver area began meeting to discuss the inadequate enforcement of domestic violence laws they were witnessing. Through partnerships with shelter workers, therapists, and judges, they formed the Colorado Coalition for Justice for Abused Women (CCJAW) and began working to change laws, policies, and protocols for responding to domestic violence. During this time, CCJAW successfully sued the Denver Mayor’s office after being denied access under an open records request to see the Denver Police Department’s operations manual.

In 1984, the coalition incorporated as a 501(c)(3) and became known as Project Safeguard (PSG). The organization began receiving grants and contracts and worked with local law enforcement, prosecutors, and the courts to establish a coordinated community response to domestic violence.

In 1986, PSG acted as a consultant to PBS in the production of a Frontline documentary recounting the domestic violence homicide of Pamela Gunther. In 1987, the organization initiated the state’s first advocacy program for female defendants, which lasted 3 years.