OLYMPIA -- The efforts of local jurisdictions and agencies to combat domestic violence (DV) will be boosted by a one-day conference to be held next week. The 2004 conference is a continuation of a multi-disciplinary effort against DV offenses, which was begun in 2000 in Thurston County . The program involves law enforcement, the courts, prosecution, social service agencies, mental health counselors, crime victim's advocates and others in an approach to provide for victim safety and hold batterers accountable. The conference aims to educate the public about the complexity of domestic violence issues, to assist victims and to develop, provide and enhance resources for the community.
Captain Dan Kimball of the Thurston County Sheriff's Office says domestic violence continues to be a significant challenge to the community. "When you look at domestic violence in all its forms, it is an incredible strain on the law and justice system and on society itself. Whether it is husband-wife, parent-child, child-parent or any other combination, these offenses can have a physical and emotional impact that lasts for generations. That's why it's so important for all of us to work together to reduce domestic violence."
Dee Koester of the Thurston County Prosecutor's office echoes Kimball's comments. "We have accomplished a lot with our unified approach to domestic violence but a lot more needs to be done. Through August of this year the Prosecutor's Office received 801 new domestic violence cases. Of those, charges were filed in 343 cases. The Thurston County Clerks office through July held 893 interviews and filed 385 cases. In Thurston County , rates of sex crimes, homicides, felony assaults and felony drug cases have steadily increased from 2003. The new case numbers do not adequately reflect the overburdened system response nor do they account for the trauma that victims endure."
The domestic violence conference, to be held Friday, October 8th at the Labor and Industries Building in Tumwater, will feature a number of noted speakers. State Supreme Court Justice Gerry L Alexander will give the opening remarks. Other speakers include Jeffrey L. Edleson Ph.D who is Director of the Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse, Lucy Berliner, the Director of the Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress and Jackson Katz, a nationally known authority who will speak on the link between media images, alcohol use and domestic violence.
Sponsors of the conference include-
- The Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.
- The Thurston County Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Task Force.
- The Washington State Crime Victim's Compensation Program.
- State Farm Insurance.
- Phoenix Inn Suites.
- Thurston Community Television.