Task Force continues to address domestic violence issues

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 10, 2007

WINTON – Members of the Roanoke Chowan Domestic Violence Task Force have returned from their yearly conference.

On September 18-21, members of the RC-DVTF gathered in Greensboro to participate in and present a panel discussion during the United States Attorneys’ Statewide Domestic Violence Training Conference.

The RC-DVTF is made up of District 6B officials with various backgrounds from Bertie, Hertford and Northampton counties.

In a press conference held in Winton last week, the members spoke about their experience at the conference and an upcoming fundraiser for the taskforce.

“We were honored to represent this district, looking for ways to improve other programs and initiatives that will enhance our community response to domestic violence,” said District 6B Chief Judge Alfred W. Kwasikpui.

Kwasikpui along with District Attorney Valerie Mitchell Asbell, Lead Magistrate for Northampton County Martha Buffaloe, Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan and several other area officials held a panel discussion called “Preventing System Failure: Criminal Justice Professionals Working Together.”

The group presented what situation the Roanoke-Chowan area was in before the formulation of RC-DVTF, the results of cooperative efforts by different agencies and goals still to be achieved by the coordinated effort.

During a break out session held after the panel presentation, members of the Coordinated Community Response Team (CCRT), a sub committee and initiative of RC-DVTF, held a different panel discussion.

Many of the participants described their experience as a learning lesson.

“We heard from all agencies and how they work together to a common goal, how to reduce domestic violence,” said Buffaloe.

Over its 11 years, RC-DVTF has worked to reduce domestic violence in the community through different ways, including initiating the Domestic Violence Offender Program which helps to rehabilitate first time offenders.

“It’s a 26 week group program,” said Jo Liles, who serves as director of the program. “We work on challenging their beliefs.”

Connection with victims is one thing Asbell’s office has strived for. Asbell said one the assistant D.A.s works solely with domestic violence cases.

“It helps with continuity with victims and witness position,” said Asbell.

Meanwhile, RC-DVTF is looking to the community they assist for a little help of their own via a fundraising campaign.

“In order for this fundraiser to be successful, we are asking the citizens of the local counties to be supportive in making monetary donations,” said Brenda Brown with Hertford County DSS. Brown also serves as chairperson for the RC-DVTF Fundraising Committee.

Over the next couple of weeks, citizens and businesses within District 6B will be receiving a fundraising letter, domestic violence brochure and a donation form through the mail from RC-DVTF.

The money will not only go toward RC-DVFT, but to those affected by domestic violence.