Domestic Violence Topic of Summit
Pendleton, Randolph, The Florida Times Union
********** CORRECTION (10/9/96)
Because of an editing error, the cost of registration for
the Governor's Third Annual Summit on Domestic Violence at
the Prime Osborn Convention Center in Jacksonville tomorrow
was misstated on Page B-1 Sunday. The cost is $40.
When women serving prison terms for killing their husbands
started applying for clemency in 1991 on the grounds that they
were victims of battering and acted in self defense, it drew the
attention of Gov. Lawton Chiles' staff.
The result is the Governor's Task Force on Domestic and Sexual
Violence, which is co-sponsoring the Governor's third annual
Summit on Domestic Violence from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday
at the Prime Osborn Convention Center in Jacksonville.
The task force, created by Chiles in an executive order in
1993, was given the mission of studying the problem of domestic
violence, recommending responses to it and increasing public
"We like to serve as a catalyst for others to act," said Robin
Hassler, executive director of the task force based in
Soon, the 35-member task force -- whose members include Circuit
Judge Karen Cole of Jacksonville and Ellen Siler, executive
director of Quigley House in Orange Park -- will be able to give
more than advice.
It has been designated as the conduit to funnel the state's
$5.3 million share of federal Violence Against Women Act money
to prosecutors, police, victims services advocates and others
involved in the fight against domestic abuse.
Offices such as the special assault unit in the State
Attorney's Office, which handles domestic violence prosecutions
in Jacksonville, and the victim advocate unit in the State
Attorney's Office, which provides services to abuse victims, are
likely candidates for some money.
The task force also has been involved in training professionals
such as police officers and health care workers in how to
recognize and deal with victims of domestic violence.
It has pushed through legislation requiring nurses and
psychologists to have an hour of instruction on domestic
violence, streamlining the injunction process and requiring the
domestic violence injunctions.
In all, the group made 225 recommendations in various stages of
But its biggest accomplishment might be in the field of
increasing public awareness.
"They've been a tremendous help to us in terms of exposing the
reality of domestic violence and the impact it has," said Rita
De Young, chief executive officer of Hubbard House, a shelter
for battered women in Jacksonville.
Libby Senterfitt, who heads the special assault unit in the
State Attorney's Office in Jacksonville, said the task force is
an important resource.
"They are an informationgathering source, and they share that
with us what has been done around the state," Senterfitt said.
The Jacksonville summit -- part of the YWCA's Week Without
Violence -- will bring together representatives of the justice
system, health care professionals, social service agencies,
policy makers and members of the public for discussions of
domestic violence and, in particular, what to do about those who
batter their spouses. …