A renewed commitment has taken hold in San Diego County for
strengthening individuals, families, communities and systems to end
family violence. Championed by Supervisor Dave Roberts, the Family
Violence Prevention and Response Initiative Summit held on May 5,
2014, was a multi-sectorial forum intended to strengthen collaborative
efforts across San Diego County to address all aspects of family
violence (child abuse, domestic violence, elder abuse, and animal
abuse). With more than 200 Summit attendees, the Chambers Room at the
County Operations Center was filled with individuals and violence
prevention partners from acros public and community-based agencies
coming together with the shared vision of ending violence in families
and in San Diego County communities.
Opened by Dr. Wilma Wooten, Public Health Officer for the County of San Diego, the Summit began with remarks from County officials and leaders in the field outlining a vision for a violence-free region through a collective impact approach.
“I wanted the County to focus on things that they may not have always focused on, and trying to curb family violence is not always a comfortable topic to focus on but it’s something that has to be talked about,” said County Supervisor, Dave Roberts. “If it affects one of us, it affects all of us. It affects every community. It’s time to end family violence in San Diego County.”
Nick Macchione, County Health and Human Services Agency Director, went on to speak about the audaciousness of ending family violence by providing a call to do so with the same tenacity as we have in addressing chronic disease.
“We’re moving from words to action,” said Macchione. “Together with community partners, we are beginning to make broad scale community impact. Working with top law enforcement officials in this county, over time we will reduce gang violence, spousal abuse and animal abuse."
A major outcome of the Summit was the formal signing of an agreement between agencies of the San Diego Domestic Violence Council (SDDVC) to dedicate staff time in order to boost efforts for professional training and community awareness surrounding intimate partner violence in San Diego County. The signatories are listed below.
Three community members shared their personal stories of family violence to help attendees better understand that family violence is often misunderstood and that it can happen to anyone. Their accounts gave attendees insight into what helped them resolve their challenges and move towards healthy, thriving lives. County employee Lt. Kalani Hudson of Animal Control Services also presented compelling information on pet abuse by drawing attention to the human-animal bond and the nature and consequences of this form of family violence.
The Summit commenced with a platform for Summit attendees to engage and join efforts to take action and move forward in stopping family violence. Dr. Dawn Griffin, Forensic Psychologist from Alliant International University and County Consultant on Trauma Informed Services, charged attendees with taking action steps to end violence and to not be a bystander.
“Stopping the violence, by stopping the silence,” said Griffin. “We must partner with the next generation – start talking about it with our children with kindness, balance, and grace.”
At the end of the Summit, a group of third and fourth graders from Cherokee Point Elementary School in City Heights inspired a call to action by gathering together in front of Summit attendees and recited a pledge of non-violence:
“In the name of those we have lost to violence, I seek change. I will not be a bystander. I will take steps to educate myself, support those around me living with violence, and work to actualize a violence-free community.”
Signatories of the SDDVC agreement were: