Domestic Violence Coalition re-established, reorganizing

By Leslie Radford: CNJ Staff writer

The recently re-established Domestic Violence Coalition is hopeful they can correct past problems through a series of workshops designed to facilitate the sharing of information and public education about what to do if they are a victim of abuse.

“(The Coalition) was being pulled in so many directions as to what we could do to reduce domestic violence situations, we couldn’t decide on which direction to take,” said coalition co-chair and state social worker Angela Rayner. “We were getting nowhere. This training should help us figure out which of our ideas we should focus on.”

Curry County Sheriff’s deputy and coalition co-chair Dean Marney said the coalition originally existed through the Clovis Police Department.

“There are several agencies that handle domestic violence and they all do their own thing as far as handling situations, and no one knows what’s going on,” Marney said. “I thought if we all worked together, we could come up with a uniform plan of action.”

New Mexico Public Health educator Phil Teakell is directing the workshops.

He said the organization had many obstacles to overcome. The lack of “good data” and a focus on goals too broad and difficult to measure were two elements that needed the most attention. Without adequate data to base decisions on, he said the coalition struggled to identify and address specific issues concerning domestic violence.

“A lot of people don’t know what services are available,” said Marney. “We’re just trying to get our feet off the ground.”

Teakell said this is an important step toward understanding the current system so workshop participants can identify problems and create a mutual goal.

Teakell said part of the program includes creating a “virtual community” of all the agencies involved in handling domestic violence issues.

“Each group in the ‘virtual community’ will be asked (in continuing workshops) to develop a flow chart on how they handle a domestic violence situation,” Teakell said. “From that, we can see where the loopholes are and build a foundation in which to improve.”

He said another good tool is to research related programs that are successful in other communities similar in size to Curry and Roosevelt counties.

“It won’t happen overnight,” Teakell said. “It could take one to five years to see results. The important thing is to develop a plan and stick to it.”

• Who: Anyone interested in reducing domestic violence in Roosevelt and Curry counties, especially those entities who may be directly involved in dealing with DV situations

• What: “Systems Thinking” training to form a plan of focus on reducing domestic violence (seven sessions remaining)

• When: 10 to 11:30 a.m. every Thursday until April 28

• Where: Hartley House Board Room, 900 N. Main Street in Clovis

• Information: Angela Rayner at Public Health in Portales, 356-4453, or Donna Horton at Hartley House in Clovis, 762-0050