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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Springfield police continue to respond to and investigate thousands of calls of domestic abuse each year. Local organizations like Harmony House and The Victim Center are consistently seeing an increased need for their services for victims of abuse. The community has seen violence among family members turn lethal in Springfield’s recent history.
The Springfield area’s Family Violence Task Force (established in late 2012) had many objectives to explore upon its formation, but one central goal was to educate the community about the issues of family violence and the overall effect this issue has on the quality of life, businesses, education and civic reputation.
“Domestic violence is not a police problem, a prosecutor problem or a court problem,” said Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson. “It’s a community problem, and the only way to defeat it is for the entire community to come together.”
With the goals of both preventing domestic violence and increasing community awareness of the issue, the Family Violence Task Force is hosting the fifth Stop the Violence conference on Feb. 22 at Missouri State University’s Plaster Student Union. The conference will include two keynote speakers, Olga Trujillo and Casey Gwinn, a community resource panel and six breakout sessions to choose from which will be offered in the morning and afternoon. Trujillo is an independent consultant, nationally renowned speaker, survivor, and attorney dedicated to enhancing understanding of - and building effective responses to - violence against women and children. Gwinn is the president and co-founder of the Family Justice Center Alliance. He is also the visionary behind the Family Justice Center Movement, first proposing the concept of the Family Justice Center model in 1989. He is a national expert on domestic violence, including prosecution, strangulation, and best practices.
Greene County just recently announced that $500,000 was being earmarked for the area’s first Family Justice Center, which is something the Family Violence Task Force has been hoping for since the group’s formation.
“Victims often don’t know about the variety of services they will need, and the process can leave many overwhelmed,” said Patterson. “The Family Justice Center model benefits survivors by providing them with a more streamlined process. They will be assisted by law enforcement, prosecutors, legal services and victim advocates all in one location. We are excited to finally be bringing this dream to fruition. We are certain this model will bring relief to victims of domestic violence and positively affect public safety in our community.”
In an effort to provide this full day of training at no cost to anyone in the region, Verizon Wireless has awarded a $15,000 HopeLine grant to the Family Violence Task Force, which is part of Community Partnership of the Ozarks' Violence Free Families coalition. Also sponsoring this conference is the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Missouri State University.
Verizon Wireless’ HopeLine program supports domestic violence prevention and awareness programs across the country by collecting no-longer used wireless phones, batteries and accessories from any wireless carrier. Devices and electronics are recycled in an environmentally sound way. Any funds collected are given back in the form of grants to shelters and non-profit organizations that focus on ending domestic violence through prevention and awareness.
"Partnerships like the one we have with the Family Violence Task Force is key for the community and everyone involved," said Domenico D'Ambrosio, Market President of Verizon Wireless. “Verizon is committed to helping end domestic violence, and the HopeLine program is a big part of that commitment.”
For more information about the Stop the Violence conference, visit the link below. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, call the 24-hour crisis hotline at 417-864-SAFE (7233). If outside the Springfield area, call 1-800-821-6863.
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Media Contact: Lisa Cox, Public Affairs Officer 417-864-1786 LCox@springfieldmo.gov