The Georgia Commission on Family Violence (GCFV) presented its Moving the Work Forward Award to the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) Covid Response Project, during the 27th Annual Family Violence Conference.

The Moving the Work Forward Award is presented to organizations that are innovative in their approaches and actions to ensure that all victims of domestic violence are provided the necessary resources to live free of violence in their homes.

DBHDD is a state agency who, along with its network of community providers, offer treatment and support services to help people with behavioral health challenges achieve recovery by focusing on their strengths.

This year, the agency worked to address the prevention of suicide among individuals affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. DBHDD planned and implemented 17 training sessions on the homicide-suicide connection in family violence to Georgia stakeholders including Community Service Boards, Department of Family and Children Services staff and foster parents, and Division of Aging Services staff.

Through an expanded partnership, DBHDD and the GCFV worked to train 40 licensed clinicians throughout Georgia in the Restorative Retelling model.  This equipped them with new skills and laid the groundwork for an increase in therapeutic and supportive services available to survivors of family violence-related murder-suicide incidents in Georgia. The Commission’s Program Manager, Niki Lemeshka said, “I can attest to the fact that none of this has been easy, particularly with the challenges of Covid, but DBHDD’s work has continued, despite challenges.”

Shevon Jones, Youth Suicide Project Coordinator at DBHDD states, “We are excited and humbled to accept this award from GCFV. We have been offering training non-stop, every month, and people have been showing up...On behalf of DBHDD, thank you for recognizing the work that we have been doing around the state.”

The Commission’s 27th annual family violence conference was held virtually on November 8-10, 2021. The theme of this year’s conference was “Moving Forward, Achieving Justice”. More than 600 local and national stakeholders attended the virtual 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 that you know is being impacted by domestic violence, call 1-800-334-2836 to speak with a domestic violence advocate.


Contact Executive Director

April Ross