Posted: Tuesday, October 8th 2013 at 11:01am
Bystander response focus of domestic violence briefing
By Alyson Shields Staff
GAINESVILLE - The Ninth Annual Domestic Violence Breakfast and Briefing was held Tuesday morning at the Gainesville Police Department, and the focus this year was on bystander response to domestic and family violence.
The briefing was sponsored by the Hall County Domestic Violence Task Force in partnership with Gateway Domestic Violence Center, the Gainesville Police Department and Mcdonald's of Northeast Georgia.
A moment of silence for Ginger Tanner, led by Solicitor General Stephanie Woodard, opened the briefing. Tanner was killed earlier this year by her husband, who afterwards took his own life.
A panel of experts, including Woodard, Gainesville Police Chief Brian Kelly, Hall County Sheriff's Office Captain Neal Bagwell and Major John Latty answered situational questions about bystander response.
"Each one of you has to take it upon yourself," said Latty, "and realize what, one, are you comfortable doing? Two, what are you prepared to do?"
All panelists encouraged the audience to take some sort of action if they suspect domestic violence, even if it was something as seemingly minor as speaking up and asking if the victim needs help.
"If we, as citizens, think that we're witnessing something, family violence for instance, we need to stand up and say something. Whether it's directly to the individual involved or if it's simply making a 911 call as a concerned citizen," said Kelly.
Awards wrapped up the event, including the Domestic Violence Officer of the Year, which was awarded to Gainesville Police Department's Brad Raper by the Task Force.
Two student design contest winners from both Gainesville High School and North Hall High School were awarded for their poster designs supporting bystander action. The two winners were Heather Vandiver from Gainesville and Laura Hutchings from North Hall.
Kit Divine was also recognized for the Georgia Domestic Violence Task Force Member of the Year.
Link: Hall County Domestic Violence Task Force Facebook Page
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