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Washoe County Domestic Violence Task Force Bylaws

The mission of the Washoe County Domestic Violence Task Force is to work toward ending domestic violence in our community by enhancing the response of primary service providers and by addressing the root causes of domestic violence, taking into account the concerns of survivors of domestic violence in addressing theses issues. The Task Force began as a Founding Committee made up of representatives from law enforcement agencies, courts, treatment providers, health and medical agencies, prosecutors’ offices, advocates and survivors of domestic violence. The Founding Committee worked for a year to organize the Task Force and plan the community wide kick-off that was held on October 19, 1993. The kick-off was held at the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) following a day of mandatory judicial training on domestic violence and featured appearances by the Governor, the Chief Justice of the Nevada Supreme Court, the Dean of the NCJFCJ, the Reno City Attorney, and Sarah Buel, a nationally recognized speaker on domestic violence.

After the kick-off, the Founding Committee merged into a Steering Committee of approximately 25 people who direct the approximately 100 member Task Force.

The Task Force has:

  1. Successfully urged the Washoe County Commission to approve a three story court house (rather than the two-story courthouse originally planned) to accommodate the needs of the Family Court;
  2. Provided survivors of domestic violence to speak at a number of forums including the National Judicial College, the local bar association, the local hospital for nurses training and news shows;
  3. Helped press for funding for a new full time court master and additional staff at the Protection Order Advocate’s Office;
  4. Developed and sponsored a court advocacy class for victims;
  5. Drafted a model police protocol which has been sent to all the law enforcement agencies in the county;
  6. Developed a supplemental reporting form for use by police officers in the field;
  7. developed a model prosecution protocol that has been sent to all prosecutors’ offices in the county and will be used for a state-wide prosecutor protocol;
  8. Set up one of the first Death Review teams in the country to review whether particular homicides were domestic violence related and whether the homicides could have been prevented;
  9. Developed and mailed a survey to treatment providers to determine their familiarity with domestic violence.

Additionally, the Task Force intervened in a Public Service Commission hearing to secure funds to implement an enhanced 911 dispatch system in the county; held a reception in October of 1994 featuring Casey Gwinn, a San Diego Attorney, who is a nationally recognized speaker on domestic violence; sponsored a play about domestic violence; and participated in a community-wide symposium on violence by providing a nationally recognized speaker, Dr Neil Jacobson, and a panel of local experts. The Task Force also participated in domestic violence training for both prosecutors and law enforcement in April 1996.

Committee Meetings

  1. Currently, the Washoe County Domestic Violence Task meets approximately every two months to discuss current domestic violence issues and hear reports from the following eight working committees:
  2. Survivors Network: Committee consists of survivors and advocates and works on improving in services to victims and teaches domestic violence classes.
  3. Advocates: Committee brings advocates together for networking, and examines issues of possible duplication of services, streamlining services etc., and developed and coordinates the 911 cell phone project.
  4. Prosecution/Law Enforcement: Committee reviews issues, policy, legislative issues and training with the mission of improving responses to domestic violence.
  5. Fatality Review: Committee reviews domestic violence related fatalities within Washoe County with the idea of what services could be improved or offered to perhaps prevent a similar fatality.
  6. Underserved Populations: Committee monitors what is going on with segments of the community who are isolated by being non-English speaking/culture/ethnicity etc, in domestic violence related issues.
  7. Legal Advocacy: Committee is designed to work on court based issues, in the civil system, that are related to domestic violence.
  8. Education and Prevention: Committee works to develop/improve/increase domestic violence education and awareness in the community. This committee also sponsors the Safe and Healthy Homes Event.
  9. Intervention and Treatment: Committee consists of treatment providers and interested groups, and works toward improving services in the batterer treatment field.

The above committees meet approximately every six weeks also.

Safe and Healthy Homes

The other major activity of the Task Force is the Safe and Healthy Homes event. This is not a fund raising event per se, but is a day of community awareness and education for domestic violence. Many service providers set up booths to give out information, talk to the public and the media and network. The event is supported by donations of goods, services and money.

Please see S&HH link at the top of the page