Who We Are
Project Safeguard (PSG), founded in 1981 and incorporated in 1984, is a non-profit organization committed to helping end gender-based violence through safety planning, legal advocacy, direct court support and attorney services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
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.
In 1990 and 1991, PSG assisted in drafting language for criminal violations of restraining orders.
Then in 1992, the organization assisted with the creation of Colorado’s 1st specialized protection order court.
PSG received the State Bar Association’s Liberty Bell award in 1992 and 1993 and was featured among 18 agencies by National Council of Family Court Judges in their book on state-of-the-art court programs, published in 1993.
That same year, PSG won a collaborative award with the Colorado Women’s Bar Association for its efforts to secure pro-bono attorneys for victims whose abusers had an attorney at Permanent Protection Order hearings. The organization also began providing services in the 18th Judicial District.
In 1994, the organization established the state’s first Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee in Denver, which is still active today under the leadership of the Rose Andom Center, and launched the Courtwatch Program. PSG also participated in legislative process to pass the state’s Domestic Violence Omnibus Bill. On the federal level, the Violence Against Women Act was passed.
In 1996, PSG’s services were expanded services to the 17th Judicial District and in 1998, the organization began collaborating with the Denver Department of Human Services to serve recipients of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
PSG began providing bilingual services in English and Spanish in 2000. In 2004, the Courtwatch Program expanded to Jefferson County.
The organization participated in revamping Arapahoe County’s protection order courts in 2005 and piloted a project in Adams County to reach domestic violence victims through Dependency and Neglect cases in 2006.
In 2014, the organization Received the Denver Mayor’s Diversity Award from the Denver Women’s Commission, in recognition of the PSG’s decades of work serving victims of domestic violence.
In 2015-2016, PSG created and piloted the Lawyers for Victims (LFV) program and received Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Special Projects funding to support the statewide replication of this innovative program.
PSG served as a founding partner and advisor in the creation of the Rose Andom Center, Colorado’s first Family Justice Center, which opened its doors in 2016.
In 2018, the organization was one of 6 agencies to file amicus curiae brief to allow victims with out-of-state protection orders to receive protection in Colorado.
In 2019, the organization further expanded attorney services through the addition of a Legal Director and Staff Attorneys to provide in-house representation and consultation to victims of gender-based violence.
Recent history is marked by the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, which required PSG to begin providing services remotely and stay abreast of ever-changing court operations.
During that same year, the organization adopted a new mission, vision, and core values, and developed its anti-racism statement in response to systemic injustice against communities of color.
In 2021, PSG’s current Executive Director, Jennifer Eyl, was awarded the Senator Norma Anderson Excellence in Victim Advocacy Award by the Office of Domestic Violence and Sex Offender Management. The same year, the community mourned the death of long-time advocate Denise Thach, who had been a staple at PSG for more than 25 years and helped increase safety and self-sufficiency for countless survivors during her career.
In 2022, PSG’s Grants and Finance Director, Nancy Olson, was selected to receive a Purple Ribbon Award for Lifetime Achievement by DomesticShelters.org Nancy previously served as PSG’s Executive Director from 2013-2020.
In 2023, PSG was honored with the Aspen Award for Organizational Excellence at the Colorado Advocacy in Action Conference in Denver.