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Minutes for the Domestic Violence Task Force Meeting

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MAY 21, 2013

Chair:  Denise Hughes-Conlon, LMHC, CAP PERC

Vice-Chairs:  Courtney Hendrickson and Chad Herman


The Domestic Violence Task Force met at the Juvenile Welfare Board, 14155 58th Street, Clearwater, Florida 33760, at 2 p.m., on May 21st, 2013.  Chair Denise Hughes-Conlon was present.  Vice-Chair Courtney Hendrickson was present.  Absent was Vice-Chair Chad Herman.

At 2:10 p.m., the purpose and goals of the task force were explained as follows:



1.To promote the prevention of domestic and sexual violence.

2. To enhance victim safety.

3. To hold batterers accountable.



1.To develop and implement primary preventative strategies.

2. To facilitate and implement a coordinated community response to domestic violence

3. To provide ongoing education and assessment of the coordinated community response.


I.               Welcome and Introductions


At 2:10 p.m., introductions were made and Chair Hughes-Conlon discussed that the latest “How to be a Better Bystander” program training was a big success.  Dave Swindall approved the minutes from March 19th, 2013 and Bill Holmes seconded and all were in favor.



II.              Delta and Primary Prevention Work Group Report


This was presented by Ellen Woll.  It was discussed on how the committee is looking to coordinate with different groups to assist with printing of their recent brochures.


III.            Chair Report


Denise Hughes-Conlon reported that she and Chad Herman attended a committee for Peace 4 Tarpon.  This is an initiative in Tarpon that has been instrumental in promoting help for people who have experienced trauma in their lives  It was discussed how Peace 4 Tarpon has introduced the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) test to the Community and how they have been able to make great progress in their community..  The ACE test is a set of ten questions developed by medical Drs. to help determine how stress during childhood triggers medical problems later in life.  Chair Hughes-Conlon, David Swindall, Katy Coner-Dubina and Chris Warwick are going to this committee on May 31st, 2013 to show them a condensed training on “How to be a Better Bystander” and then it is hoped that this will be presented to the Tarpon community in the fall.

Chair Hughes-Conlon went to the CAT (Children’s Action Team) meeting which is a multi-agency faceted team set to address the issues, such as domestic violence, facing children in this community. It was suggested there that she contact the Pasco County Task Force.  She is working to set up a meeting with the Pasco and Hillsborough Chairs to see if there are ways we can all connect.

Chair Hughes-Conlon reported she went to the Alliance meeting.  Loretta Shirley is now the Executive Director of Eckerd. She discussed the transformation the restructuring of protocol and services for child welfare.  One of the changes is the child protection investigators will do longer terms of assessment for immediate and impending child welfare to help determine immediate risk and the more positive aspects of the family such as the ability to keep the children safe even when problems such as drug use or domestic violence are visible in the home.  This new protocol will be statewide with full implementation in October 2013.

Chair Hughes-Conlon reported Linda Osmondson had emailed her to update the interagency agreement which was developed approximately fivve years ago.  Wendy Loomis will be working on this inter-agency agreement to update the information and coordinate the parties involved.



IV.            The Fatality Review Committee, Vice-Chair Courtney Hendrickson


The Fatality Review report was presented and distributed at the Domestic Violence Task Force, Everyone is encouraged to copy the booklet and distribute to the community. The trends are similar and in conjunction with the national trends. They are, briefly put; in the majority of the cases when their was a fatality in this community in 2011 their was no injunction in place, others knew of the abuse, substance abuse was a contributing factor, there was a male perpetrator who had not been referred to BIP and had a criminal history, a firearm was used, little contact with Domestic Centers, and the couple had been involved in some way with the system.

The Task Force has been working on making the legislature more aware of the percentage of domestic violence fatalities involving guns.

“Be a Better Bystander” continues to inform the community of what to do when they see domestic violence.

The Task Force continues to work with CPID and Eckerd to enhance recognition of violence in the home and to hold batterers accountable.

The Civil Court now has a grant to develop and implement a Civil Court that addresses domestic violence and holds batterers accountable. This grant was procured partially due to a court Watch implemented by The Task Force and carried out with the help of many dedicated volunteers from JADA.

There is a Substance Committee that is working on a curriculum to address both substance abuse and power and control issues.


V.              Steering Committee


Chair of this subcommittee is Katie Connor-Dubina.  She reported all of the training that was presented this past year by different speakers and interactions with various groups.  She liked the smaller forums best due to more questions being asked by those in attendance.  She discussed the evaluations of the training which were the majority of the time good or excellent.

The Domestic Violence Task Force made a profit of $50 at the last training. Katy Connor-Dubina expressed how she appreciated Chief Holloway’s presence on the panel held at this forum.

Ellen Woll suggested role playing at training sessions and some discussion was brought up by the Task Force members regarding her suggestion.

Katie Connor-Dubina discussed possibly having a five minute video on why doesn’t a victim just leave a domestic violence situation. This would help combat those attitudes by people that often say that when the survivor does not leave her abuser.  She reported that Sharon Hauser will be attending summer camps and giving training on domestic violence as it is linked to animal abuse.

June 5th, 2013 will be the next Steering Committee meeting.

Erica had reported at the last meeting that she had to discussed some problems with victim assistance and the domestic violence injunction service issues..  Katie Connor-Dubina connected with several people knowledgeable in this field, such as Don Gibson, Legal Counsel for the St. Petersburg Police Department, members of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and the State Attorney’s Office to discuss the problems. It is anticipated the DVTF will obtain recommendations for improving a better alliance with the Pinellas County S.O. Warrant Section regarding the issuance of domestic violence injunctions.


VI.            Educational

Douglas Bonar gave a presentation on the batterer’s intervention program model he uses along with the power control model presently in use.  He presents to his clients a program that he developed called “Roots and Wings” the way to wholeness. The goal of the program is to empower people so they can change.


VII.           Announcements

Chair Hughes-Conlon announced that there will be training at the Court House regarding Community Collaboration on June 7th, 2013.  This will be an all-day affair from 8:30 -5:00     The Civil Court grant and its implementation will be discussed.  There will be box lunches available for $10.  This is free training and everyone is welcome.

Douglas Bonar brought up that he would like to have the Domestic Violence Task Force obtain statistics on how many batterers are being referred and completing the BIP program from the Civil Court.

Ellen Woll discussed children witnessing violence, particularly homicide. She corresponded with a friend in California who mentioned there is a camp for children who witness violence called The Comfort Zone Camp.  There is a DVD on Sesame Street on “When Children Grieve” that is supposedly a good tool.



The meeting was adjourned at 3:50 p.m.

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