Thursday, October 27, 2011

Domestic Violence: High Risk Case Conferencing Training

On October 14th Family Services, Inc. along with the Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office, the Dutchess County Legislature, and the generous support of the United Way of Dutchess County, sponsored a domestic violence training focused on high risk case conferencing. While our community has a very strong coordinated response to domestic violence, the increase in domestic violence homicides in the past year has prompted the community to critically examine the established systems. New and innovative approaches are needed to increase the safety of victims and accountability of offenders.

The training was focused on a model of high risk case conferencing that uses a research based approach to identifying and addressing high lethality cases of domestic violence. The training involved a multi-disciplinary team with representatives from a variety of systems and agencies including, Family Services, Inc., the District Attorney’s Office, the Dutchess County Legislature, Grace Smith House, the House of Hope, the New York State Police, the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, the Town of Poughkeepsie Police, the City of Poughkeepsie Police, Vassar College, Marist College, Dutchess Community College, Health Families of Dutchess County, the Mediation Center of Dutchess County, the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, Mental Hygiene, Probation, Child Protective Services, the medical field, and community members.

This training has initiated the development of a high risk case conferencing team to address highly lethal cases in Dutchess County. As part of this project we will also be engaging systems and agencies in the community to utilize lethality assessments and refer high risk cases to the team. While service providers and law enforcement are already using lethality assessments, it is crucial for other systems and agencies to use them as well. This training will enhance Dutchess County’s ability to protect victims and hold offenders accountable.  

 “I think that the high risk training was very useful.  The knowledge that we gained will allow us to use Dutchess County’s existing coordinated response to identify and prioritize cases involving indicators of elevated risk to victims.  Having all the participants assembled for this training really generated discussion of the practical details that will make high risk case conferencing a valuable enhancement to Dutchess County’s response to domestic violence.” - Marjorie Smith, Bureau Chief
Special Victim’s Bureau, Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office

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