SPAN Code of Ethics

SPAN has a comprehensive Code of Ethics that all staff and volunteers must learn and abide by. The SPAN code of ethics includes a set of “Non-Negotiables” (i.e. guidelines for the SPAN board of directors, staff, interns, and volunteers); as well as documentation on “Ethical Communication;” and the SPAN Employee Handbook. To ensure the thorough integration of these policies into the day-to-day operations at SPAN, all candidates for SPAN staff positions are provided the “Non-Negotiables” and “Ethical CommunicationBest-Practices-blurbs-ethicdocumentation prior to their interview, and questions about these documents are incorporated into the interview process. All SPAN volunteers receive the “Non-Negotiables” and “Ethical Communication” documentation during their interview with the Volunteer Coordinator. Expectations are clearly stated that all staff and volunteers must abide by the SPAN Code of Ethics.

All SPAN staff, Board Members, and program volunteers are required to complete a 44-hour, month long training designed to enhance participants’ awareness of social justice issues, the dynamics of abuse, and to develop greater awareness of the various systems of oppression.  A collateral benefit of the training is to inculcate new SPAN community members with the core vision, values, and ethics that drive the organization’s mission.  Throughout the training participants develop active listening skills and practice ethical communication while learning about SPAN’s programs, procedures, and philosophy in order to support survivors and their families in the best way possible.

Another way in which the SPAN Code of Ethics is reinforced in day-to-day operations is the utilization of a “Legal Advocacy Client Rights Disclosure” and a “Counseling Disclosure Form.” Both of these disclosures are available in English and Spanish and are given to clients so as to inform them of the organization’s commitment to a high standard of ethical service as well as outline the actions that a client may take if they feel that their counselor or advocate is not acting in adherence with the SPAN Code of Ethics.

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Justice for Ashley

Ashley MeadNothing will bring back her spark, her energy and kindness.  Ashley Mead’s little girl Winter will never know her mom, whose light and life were brutally extinguished in 2017 by Adam Densmore, Ashley’s ex-partner and the father of her child.  But at least a jury in Boulder saw Mr. Densmore’s actions for what they were: horrific violence, manipulation and cold hearted, remorseless lies.  Convicted on all charges we can be pretty certain that he will not have the opportunity to murder and dismember any more girlfriends.

So yes, there is a sense of justice, resolution, in this specific case.  But to say it is a hollow and even bitter justice is an understatement.  Look at those photos of Ashley that have been online and in the press.  That smiling, bright eyed young woman is dead, died by terrifying violence, her last moments painful to imagine.  The guilty verdict in this case is important but it does not represent true justice for Ashley or her little girl.

Two things to remember about Ashley’s case.  1) She was killed as she prepared to leave Mr. Densmore once and for all, an example of a grim statistic:  leaving is perhaps the most dangerous thing a woman can do, with the homicide rate increasing exponentially. 2) Ashley was receiving support and services from some of the best human services professionals in Boulder County, and nobody knew there was anything amiss in her relationship with her baby’s father.  Where were the warning signs?  Data suggests that they were there and that they might possible have triggered a life-saving intervention.

Justice for Ashley lies in committing to change.

What does this commitment look like?  Educate yourself on the issue, learn how to appropriately support people experiencing violence in their relationships.  Commit to shining a light on the impact of relationship and family violence, acknowledge that this mayhem is happening all around us and it puts us all at risk.  Listen when survivors tell their stories, support them, believe them.   Hold abusers accountable with no take-backs or excuses.

At SPAN we talk about survivors of violence, a much more empowering phrase than victim.  But Ashley Mead did not survive and we owe it to her memory, and to the thousands of people experiencing violence in our community every day, to do this work.  Join us

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