The sixth annual Stop the Violence Conference is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 28th at Missouri State University’s Plaster Student Union from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The conference, hosted by the Springfield area’s Family Violence Task Force, aims to educate the public and increase awareness surrounding the issue of domestic violence. For the first year, the conference has reached capacity for registration, with 520 people expected to attend.

“Domestic violence is not a police problem, a prosecutor problem or a court problem,” said Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson. “It’s a community problem, and the only way to defeat it is for the entire community to come together.”

The conference will include two keynote speakers, Jackson Katz, Ph.D. and Chan Hellman, Ph.D., a community resource panel and six breakout sessions. Dr. Katz is internationally renowned for activism on issues of gender, race and violence. Much of his work is focused on how men can promote gender equality and prevent gender violence. Dr. Hellman is a Professor in the Anne & Henry Zarrow School of Social Work and Founding Director of the Center of Applied Research for Nonprofit Organizations. Chan’s current research focuses on how nonprofit organizations impact client hope and how hope is associated with positive goal attainment and well-being among those experiencing adversity and stress.

This year’s conference comes on the heels of the opening of the brand-new Greene County Family Justice Center, which launched in October 2018.

“The Family Justice Center model benefits survivors by providing them with a more streamlined process,” said Patterson “They will be assisted by law enforcement, prosecutors, legal services and victim advocates all in one location. We are excited to finally be bringing this dream to fruition. We are certain this model will bring relief to victims of domestic violence and positively affect public safety in our community.”

During the conference, a Family Justice Center update will be provided during a breakout session by Jamie Willis, Family Justice Center Project Coordinator.

In an effort to provide this full day of training at no cost to anyone in the region, Verizon Wireless has awarded a $15,000 HopeLine grant to the Family Violence Task Force, which is part of Community Partnership of the Ozarks’ Violence Free Families coalition. Also sponsoring this conference is the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Missouri State University.

Verizon Wireless’ HopeLine program supports domestic violence prevention and awareness programs across the country by collecting no longer used wireless phones, batteries and accessories from any wireless carrier. Devices and electronics are recycled in an environmentally sound way. Any funds collected are given back in the form of grants to shelters and non-profit organizations that focus on ending domestic violence through prevention and awareness.

For more information about the Stop the Violence conference, visit the link below. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, call The Victim Center’s 24-Hour Crisis Response Line at 417-864-SAFE (7233). If outside the Springfield area, call 1-800-821-6863

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