UT Workshop Combats Domestic Violence

KNOXVILLE — Officials representing law enforcement, family violence shelters, victim and child advocacy, and crisis intervention teams from East Tennessee and Virginia will meet here Tuesday to combat domestic violence.

The University of Tennessee is co-sponsoring a workshop on “Reducing Domestic Violence Through Community Oriented Policing” June 5-8 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Mike Hill of UT-s Southeastern Community Oriented Policing Education (SCOPE) Institute said the program brings together law enforcement officials, social services advocates and local and regional experts to explore intervention techniques and strategies to stop the cycle of domestic violence.

Domestic violence is one of the biggest challenges facing communities today, Hill said.

“Many people prefer that domestic violence be kept as a private matter between spouses and families,” Hill said. “Unfortunately, this antiquated belief has heightened the problem and escalated occurrences across the nation.

“Studies show that the levels of violence within these relationships tend to rise, and many police departments cite domestic violence as their No. 1 challenge.”

The program is free. Areas of study include assessing the aggressor and lethality of a given situation, sexual assault and preserving evidence, enforcement of orders of protection, coordinated community response planning between medical personnel, law enforcement and victim advocates and utilization of community policing tactics.

Workshops also are set for June 18 in Fayetteville, Ga.; August 6 in Tupelo, Miss.; August 20 in Memphis; November 5 in Gallatin, Tenn.; November 18 in Gulf Shores, Ala.; March 18, 2002, in Little Rock, Ark., and a date to be named later in South Carolina.

Amy Ostermeier, training program coordinator, said fostering collaboration and partnership is one of the most important goals.

“Officers will have a different perspective and experience than an advocate but we are all working towards the same goal: saving lives and holding batterers accountable,” Ostermeier said. “Working together and sharing information is a key component to reducing domestic violence in any community.”

The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Ga., the Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, and the Knoxville Police Department Domestic Violence Unit helped develop the training classes.

The project is a partnership between UT-s SCOPE Institute and the Knoxville Police Department. It is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.