ATLANTA - The Georgia Commission on Family Violence (GCFV) will host its 24th annual Statewide Family Violence Conference at the Jekyll Island Convention Center in Jekyll Island, Georgia. The conference begins Sunday, September 9th and runs through Wednesday, September 12th. The theme of this year’s event is Beyond the Bruising: Unraveling the Complexities of Domestic Violence.

Featured keynote speakers include:

Beverly Gooden is a social activist, speaker and creator of the viral 2014 movement, “Why I Stayed.” #WhyIStayed was named by TIME as one of the “Top 10 Hashtags That Started a Conversation.” Beverly has appeared on Good Morning America, the Dr. Phil show, Inside Edition, CNN, NPR, and NBC Nightly News. Her story and social media impact have been featured in the Washington Post, Marie Claire, USA Today, CNN Money, Bloomberg, and BBC News.

Evan Stark is an Associate Professor of Public Administration, Director of the Master's in Public Health Program at Rutgers-Newark and Director of the Division of Urban Health Administration at the UMDNJ School of Public Health. With a Ph.D. in sociology and his master’s in social work, his book, Coercive Control: How Men Entrap Women in Personal Life won the excellence award from the American Publishers Association.  

Over 650 local and national community stakeholders are also expected to be present, the largest audience for the annual conference in its 24 year history. The multidisciplinary audience includes judges, domestic violence advocates, family violence intervention program providers, sexual assault advocates, victim advocates, judges, prosecutors, law enforcement, faith leaders, counselors, 911 responders and community members.

“Our most prominent statewide initiative for accomplishing the Commission’s mission of ending family violence in Georgia is our Annual Family Violence Conference,” stated Stephanie Woodard, Chair of the Georgia Commission on Family Violence. “Our Conference Planning Committee has done a tremendous job packing our three day conference full of cutting edge presenters, best practice workshops, and self-care activities.”

The conference’s theme, which will thread through the two keynotes and 36 workshops, will focus on the dynamics of domestic violence that are not physical. “The theme of the conference is a vital part of our work to end family violence in Georgia. We must continue to examine the dynamics of domestic violence that extend beyond or occur before physical violence ever happens: economic abuse, emotional abuse, and coercive control,” commented Jennifer Thomas, director of the Georgia Commission on Family Violence.

Local and national professionals will present important information on a wide-range of family violence issues such as culturally competent programming, responding to stalking, child witnesses of domestic violence, multidisciplinary approaches, family violence courts, polyvictimization, serving teen and elderly victims of abuse, supervising domestic violence offenders, and enhanced services for sexual assault survivors.

The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) provided scholarships to domestic violence advocates and sexual assault advocates to cover some of the costs associated with attending the event.

The Georgia Commission on Family Violence was created in 1992 by the Georgia General Assembly. The Commission is charged with the development of a comprehensive state plan for ending family violence in Georgia.

Contact Information:

Contact: Jennifer Thomas,