Many ask what I do as a member of the Legislature when we are not in session. As a member of the Legislature, I have been appointed to two very important boards — one is the Georgia Commission on Domestic Violence and the other is Georgia’s State Child Fatality Review Board. I would like to take a moment to introduce you to the Georgia Commission on Domestic Violence and let you know a little of what they do.
The Georgia Commission on Domestic Violence (GCDV) is tasked with the responding to family violence in the state of Georgia. The Commission believes that a coordinated community response is the best way to address the problem of family violence. Coordinated community response means that every segment of the community — including judges, advocates, law enforcement, medical professionals, educators, and concerned citizens — is responsible for helping to end family violence. In other words, everyone including you can be a part of the solution. GCDV works with communities and systems across the state to provide leadership in strengthening Georgia’s families by ending family violence.
The Commission’s mission is set forth in Georgia’s law (O.C.G.A. 19-13-34). The code section spells out the Commission’s specific duties.
The most important task the Commission has is to study and evaluate the needs and services relating to family violence in Georgia. This means taking a look at the ever-changing problem of family violence in the state and make sure that the needs of the victims (in the way of shelters and supportive services) are being met. It also means to make sure that services are provided for offenders, including regulating Family Violence Intervention Programs.
A crucial aspect of the Commission’s work focuses on the laws and legislation around family violence. The Commission actively evaluates and monitors effectiveness of existing family violence laws. If there is a lack or change needed, then the Commission will initiate the development of family violence legislation. Once the change is made, the Commission will monitor the implementation and enforcement of laws, regulations, and protocols concerning family violence.
An important part of the ongoing work of the Commission has to do with training and education for the state on issues relating to family violence. The Commission will hold trainings for law enforcement, shelter workers, victim advocates, prosecutors and others throughout the year. By keeping people informed and educated about family violence, we as a state, are better able to save lives and help children affected.
I am very proud of the work that the Commission does to help the state and honored that I am able to assist by serving on the Commission.