A major international conference for everyone working with victims of domestic abuse took place in Derry~Londonderry in June 2019
‘From Hurt To Hope’ convened a unique gathering of local and international professionals working in the field of domestic abuse, child abuse, sexual assault and elder abuse in Ulster University at Magee campus on June 4 & 5.
The conference focused on family justice and best practice in multi-agency team working in key areas, including investigation; documentation; prosecution; advocacy and research.
Hosted by Foyle Family Justice Centre, the conference was a must-attend event for anyone wanting to bring about meaningful change in the way domestic violence-related services are delivered.
The conference showcased the advantages of the internationally acclaimed Family Justice Centre approach and the interagency collaboration which is currently being developed in Derry/Londonderry by Foyle Women’s Aid.
Recognised as a ground-breaking model for multi-disciplinary agency working to combat domestic, sexual and child abuse, there are already more than 130 Family Justice Centres (FJCs), with a further 100 in development.
Keynote speakers included Casey Gwinn, whose vision of a comprehensive centre for services to victims of family violence become a reality in San Diego in 2002 with the opening of the nationally acclaimed San Diego Family Justice Centre, which sees professionals from 25 agencies together under one roof.
He is currently President of Alliance for HOPE International and has been recognised by The American Lawyer magazine as one of the top 45 public lawyers in America.
Gael Strack, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Alliance for HOPE International, also a founding director of the San Diego FJC, is an adjunct Law professor at California Western School of Law, where she teaches “Domestic Violence and the Law.”
Her Strangulation workshop provided an overview of our current understanding of non-fatal strangulation assaults, including the severity and lethality of strangulation, and why it is one of the most lethal forms of domestic violence.
The workshop highlighted how the lack of external injuries and the lack of medical training among domestic violence professionals have led to the minimisation of this type of violence, exposing victims to potential serious health consequences, further violence and even death.
The conference gave delegates the opportunity to hear directly from survivors; unique access to pioneers in victims’ services; challenging and participative workshop sessions; learning cutting edge and best practice approaches.
It was designed for anyone working with victims and survivors of domestic abuse, including victims’ services, health professionals, counsellors, criminal justice and legal professionals, social services and policy makers.