ATHENS - The Georgia Commission on Family Violence (GCFV) presented its Task Force of The Year Award to the Mountain Judicial Circuit Family Violence Task Force at the 25th Annual Family Violence Conference.

GCFV Chair Stephanie Woodard said: “The Commission is proud to recognize The Mountain Judicial Circuit Family Violence Task Force as Georgia’s Family Violence Task Force of the Year for their work in creating a coordinated community response to domestic violence in the Mountain Judicial Circuit in Northeast Georgia. They are exemplary models for pushing for change on a local level - their accomplishments are truly inspiring.”

Family Violence Task Forces are multidisciplinary community groups (government agencies, community-based agencies, survivors of family violence, concerned community members and professionals) whose focus is on increasing victim safety and offender accountability through coordinating local services and effecting change through creating a coordinated community response to domestic violence.

Sheriff Chad Nichols, co-chair of the Mountain Judicial Circuit Family Violence Task Force said, “the members of the task force are truly honored to receive this recognition from the Georgia Commission on Family Violence. Our task force has an understanding that in order to address this prevalent issue, all members of the community must be engaged. We are focused on implementing a coordinated community response in order to create a victim-centered solution to ending family violence, and to ensure all families in our community can be safe in their homes.”

Jo Descher, Nichols’ co-chair, shared that the Mountain Judicial Circuit Task Force often takes inspiration from the quote: “It takes two things for violence to occur: a perpetrator willing to perpetrate violence, and a community willing to let it happen.”  Jo continued, “Our Task Force is making sure that at least one of these two things isn’t happening!”

The Task Force meets bimonthly. Since restructuring in 2017, the Task Force has improved community awareness and understanding of domestic violence through the education and training of varied community stakeholders. Through the work of their three Task Force Committees (Public Awareness & Membership, Accountability, and Legislative & Protocol Committees), they have also helped inform and improve the community’s response to survivors through increased collaboration and communication between community agencies. Additionally, the Task Force is engaging men in the faith community by educating spiritual leaders on domestic violence and available resources in the community, as well as how to better support survivors and their families.

The Commission’s 25th annual family violence conference was held at the Classic Center in Athens, Georgia on September 8-11, 2019. The theme of this year’s conference was Supporting Survivors and Restoring Hope: 25 Years Ago to 25 Years Ahead. Over 650 local and national stakeholders attended the sold out conference, including judges, prosecutors, law enforcement, advocates, survivors, faith leaders, counselors and community members.

About GCFV: The Georgia Commission on Family Violence, created by The Georgia General Assembly in 1992, is charged with developing a comprehensive state plan for ending family violence in Georgia. If you or someone you know is being impacted by domestic violence, call 1-800-334-2836 to speak with a domestic violence advocate.

Contact Information:

Press Contact: Stephanie Woodard,