A Message from Stephanie Woodard, Chair of GCFV

The Georgia Commission on Family Violence continuously focuses on our mission of ending family violence with a fresh look at our methods of accomplishing that meaningful task. Through our research, data analysis, and collaboration with community partners, the last two years has helped us to identify gaps in services and areas for training. Our annual publication of the Georgia Domestic Violence Fatality Review Report has been instrumental in effecting change – not just in our own work, but informing legislation and other disciplines in their responses to those affected by the cycle of abuse.

Those efforts are now in the execution phase, with the growth and formation of multiple statewide projects and initiatives driven by the Commission. With yearlong preparation by a special committee of stakeholders, we will seek to implement the rewrite of the Rules for Family Violence Intervention Programs (FVIPs) with the Department of Community Supervision. The rewrite includes modern adjustments to best practices, certification and quality assurance measures for both programs and facilitators. We also welcome new staff to assist and support our certified FVIP programs with their vitally important work. Additionally, we sought and were awarded funding for a state advocate to address the needs of families impacted by domestic violence murder-suicide. Our 2016 Georgia Domestic Violence Fatality Review Report revealed almost non-existent support and connectivity to resources for these families. We also partnered with stakeholders to launch a suicide prevention education and training program informed by the overlapping risk factors for intimate partner violence lethality indicators and suicide risk.

This has all been the work of a small but mighty agency of employees led by the diverse members of the Commission. As I embrace the new responsibilities of Chairing the Commission, I do so with a promise that echoes the theme of our 23rd Annual Family Violence Conference,  “Maintaining Our Momentum.”  This fantastic work will continue with focused energy, full intention, and all due respect.

This Commission, our employees, our stakeholders, our volunteers, and our community based partners all wholeheartedly believe in the work that we do. Assisting families affected by violence and abuse on their respective paths to lives free of violence, affordable housing, food security, financial stability, and resiliency are all things I care about deeply. I am honored and humbled to serve as the Commission Chair with the support of such a wonderful community and knowledgeable, tenacious employees who care so deeply about this work.

Respectfully,

Stephanie D. Woodard