The Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence is saying goodbye to Executive Director Julia Colpitts, who has been at the helm of the Coalition since 2010. Colpitts has accepted a Deputy Director post with the National Network to End Domestic Violence in Washington, DC.
Under Colpitts’ leadership, MCEDV has achieved significant milestones. The Coalition has led a statewide effort to improve how domestic violence advocates and the criminal justice system work together to identify and respond to high-risk cases of abuse. MCEDV was instrumental in both the passage and implementation of the 2012 law that mandates use of an evidence-based risk assessment tool at the scene of domestic violence crimes in Maine. “I am leaving Maine with mixed feelings,” says Colpitts. “These past years have been truly exciting ones to be working at MCEDV. But I know that the good work we’ve done at the Coalition is going to continue.”
Stepping into the director’s role at the Coalition will be Francine Stark of Winterport. Stark has 30 years of experience working to end domestic violence. She spent 23 years working for Spruce Run in Penobscot County, where she focused on changing the cultural conditions that condone abuse through training, curriculum development, and community collaborations. Since 2009 she has been the director of Hope and Justice Project, Aroostook County’s domestic violence resource center, where she oversees 24-hour advocacy services in Maine’s largest and most rural county. She serves on the Advisory Group for the Maine Victim Assistance Academy, and is the recipient of a 2010 Maryann Hartman Award from the University of Maine.
Stark brings to the Coalition strong leadership skills and a commitment to a statewide vision. “I am looking forward to being part of the statewide conversation about how best to hold perpetrators accountable, support victims of abuse and violence, and implement effective prevention programs,” says Stark. “I have the deepest and greatest respect for the work being done all over the state of Maine, from the rural miles of Aroostook County to the busy population centers in the south. It will be a real privilege to work with the many skilled individuals in all the projects of the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, as well as with our colleagues in the Wabanaki Women’s Coalition, the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and our other partners at the state level, to move forward this vital work.”
Stark will begin her new post on September 1.