ODVSOM: Domestic Violence Offender Management Board History

Domestic violence offenders were treated on a voluntary basis prior to 1979, as no formal court referral system existed. In 1979, the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office in conjunction with Women in Crisis began a domestic violence program for individuals criminally charged. The following year, Alternatives to Family Violence, an Adams County treatment program, assisted in the development of a referral system for offenders from municipal court; however, there were no formal standards governing the treatment of those who were referred. 

In 1984, the Denver Consortium helped institute a mandatory arrest policy in Denver. As a result of increased arrests, additional offenders were referred for treatment increasing the need for providers to work with domestic violence offenders. Community members, including representatives of victim services, treatment agencies, and the criminal justice system, became concerned that the treatment provided to these offenders was inconsistent. 

As a result of these concerns, a statewide committee on intra-agency standards was formed that included both urban and rural groups. Experts in the field of domestic violence contributed information to the committee. In 1986, written treatment standards were completed and approved by the Service Provider’s Task Force, a subcommittee of the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence, formerly the Colorado Domestic Violence Coalition. 

In 1987, Representative John Irwin, with support of the domestic violence community, successfully proposed a law mandating treatment for all people convicted of a crime with an underlying factual basis of domestic violence (§18-6-803, C.R.S.). In addition to mandated treatment, the new law established the State Commission, appointed by the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court to create standards for treatment, and provide for appointment of certification boards in each judicial district. These local boards were charged with certifying and monitoring approved providers’ compliance with the standards. 

The new law had two major shortcomings, creating tensions that ultimately led to the dismantling of the law. First, no funds were allocated to support the effort of the State Commission and the local certification boards. Secondly, some licensed mental health professionals objected to the local certification board process, believing that it created a “double jeopardy” situation. Both the local certification boards and the Colorado State Department of Regulatory Agencies regulated the professionals. In response to these concerns, Representative Steve Toole proposed HB 1263 in the 2000 legislative session.

Effective July 1, 2000, Section 16-11.8-101, et. seq., C.R.S. established the Domestic Violence Offender Management Board (DVOMB) that is responsible for promulgating standards for treatment and establishing an application process for treatment providers. Section 16-11.8- 101, et. seq., C.R.S. authorizes the Colorado mental health licensing boards and the Department of Regulatory Agencies to approve treatment providers in conjunction with the Domestic Violence Offender Management Board. 

The Standards are constantly evolving due to new research and literature. The last significant revision to the Standards occurred in 2010 when the 36-week model was replaced with a differential treatment model that incorporated the principles of risk, need, and responsivity factors.