Section 3. Starting a Family Violence Task Force
Family Violence Task Force Committees
Currently, FVTFs around the state incorporate some features of the Duluth Model and CCR through the establishment of committees. Committees are often where FVTFs do the bulk of their work, and are usually formed at the launch of the FVTF. GCFV’s task force survey revealed that more than half of the members surveyed were not members of any subcommittee of the FVTF. Additionally, there was a 20% decline in meeting attendance after the 4th meeting. These findings suggest the importance of establishing committees immediately upon formation of the FVTF.
Strategic use of a committee structure often promotes greater engagement and provides an opportunity to focus on systems change and policy development. The work of committees can be used as a vehicle to move the goals and objectives of the larger FVTF forward. Successful FVTFs require a strategic focus and intention to accomplish the goals they set out to achieve. Most work happens in these smaller groups that regularly meet outside of the larger FVTF meetings. FVTFs usually identify 2 - 4 committees to focus on at a time. Years of FVTF experience, coupled with the diligent work conducted by the fatality review teams throughout Georgia, has helped us determine a list of committees necessary to move CCR efforts forward.
Please keep GCFV updated on your FVTF’s committees. As FVTFs throughout the state select committees that best fit the needs of their community, GCFV will provide opportunities for FVTFs to network and discover best practices for committee work. Below is a suggested list of committees that some FVTFs have established. Click on each subcommittee for sample goals, objectives, and tasks.
Guidelines for Committees
- Each committee should establish clear goals and objectives at the beginning of committee formation. Goals of the committee should be concise (who, what, when where), with action-oriented steps.
- Meet bi-monthly and report back to the larger FVTF on progress towards accomplishing the goals.
- Keep your meetings timely. Start on time, and end on the designated time.
- A member of the FVTF should chair each committee, but the committee can also recruit outside members in order to accomplish goals.
- Each meeting should have an agenda, sign in sheets, action plan, and minutes.
- Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of your committee, based on whether you are accomplishing the committee’s goal, and focusing on the victim-centered mission of the FVTF. Discuss and be open to new opportunities and strategies in your committee work.
First Steps When Starting a Family Violence Task Force
While the development of each FVTF is different, establishing clear strategies and strong partnerships is critical. GCFV is here to support you in each of these steps as you work to get your FVTF off the ground.
During years of supporting FVTFs, GCFV has observed a common pattern that successful task forces have followed:
1. Identify Steering Committee of Key Stakeholders
A Steering Committee provides support and advocacy in the early stages of planning and development of the FVTF. The committee can be made up of a small group of individuals whose focus is planning the initial meetings, assessing the community to develop an inclusive list of FVTF stakeholders, and recruitment of those stakeholders to join the FVTF. Forming a Steering Committee that includes a range of stakeholders ensures that not one individual or agency carries the entire weight of establishing the FVTF.
2. Identifying Interim Leadership
Your Steering Committee can serve as the interim leadership until formal elections are held. Carrying out the duties and responsibilities of the chair and secretary are essential components of getting things started and ensuring the process is moving along. The permanent leadership of the FVTF is called the Executive Committee, and includes the Chair, Co-Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer (if needed).
3. Contact and Recruitment
Strategize as a group and ensure that a diverse group (consider race, ethnicity, gender, faith, sexual orientation, and profession) of individuals are invited to participate in the FVTF. What are the demographics of your area? Invite the members of and groups connected to underserved populations. Core stakeholders include survivors, law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, probation, 911 operators, mental health professionals, and advocacy agencies.
Some recruitment strategies to consider are:
- Make a list of the individuals you would like to be on your FVTF by assessing for interest, knowledge, connectedness, and willingness to serve (or to appoint a designee).
- Understand the mission of the agency/government stakeholders being recruited, and explain and connect their department values to the FVTF goals and objectives.
- Follow up with potential FVTF members more than once, ideally using multiple methods (email, an invite for coffee).
- Be aware of the potential barriers to participation such as meeting times, dates, and locations, and allow for flexibility and inclusiveness in scheduling and holding meetings.
- Network and attend other community meetings. Reach out to other community organizations where stakeholders may already be meeting (Family Connection meetings, community, civics, and professional organizations). Help stakeholders understand what a FVTF is.
In addition to the stakeholders listed above, the following systems should be invited to participate in the FVTF:
Domestic Violence Agencies
Domestic Violence Survivors
Georgia Council on Child Abuse
Rape Crisis Centers
Boys’ and Girls’ Club leaders
Council on Aging
Sheriffs and/or Representatives
Mental Health Providers
Day Care Programs
Board of Education Members
Georgia Legal Services
City Recreation Departments
Emergency Medical Centers
Public Defenders Offices
Local Detention/Diversion Centers
Day Care Centers
Criminal Justice Departments
Neighborhood Watch Programs
4. Centering Survivor/Victim Voices
Ensure that victim voices are central to the work of the FVTF. A key to the success of FVTFs is to ensure that victims and survivors are included at the table. This is critical to ensuring victim/survivor’s needs and experiences are guiding the work, and making a positive impact on victims’ experience with systems.
5. Preparing for Your First Meeting
The first FVTF meeting is an opportunity to develop the structure for the FVTF, as well as inform stakeholders about how the FVTF will function.
- Be clear about the purpose/objective of the meeting. Help everyone understand the purpose of the FVTF and begin to discuss how you will operate as a group. Introduce the idea of committees.
- Set a clear agenda. Develop a meeting agenda to distribute in advance of the meeting so that you can get the support you need to execute the meeting.
- Set a time frame for the meeting. Start and end the meeting on time. The first FVTF meeting is typically around two hours long.
- Make sure you have a note taker who drafts the meeting minutes. This is an ideal task for a steering committee member. Keep track of what happened at the meeting, who was in attendance and next steps for the FVTF members. Keep a copy to distribute to your FVTF and forward a copy to GCFV.
- Download the sign in sheet. Please use GCFV’s sign in sheet at every FVTF meeting and committee meeting. Keep a copy for your FVTF and forward a copy to GCFV.
- Discuss and propose a meeting schedule for the year at the first meeting. Some FVTFs alternate each month between full task force meetings and committee meetings.
6. Preparing Draft By-Laws and Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs)
Bringing draft bylaws to the first meeting can assist your FVTF in clarifying how you will function together. Completing a group MOU will formalize member and stakeholder group involvement on the FVTF.