Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus has renewed the County’s contract with Family Services, Inc. to provide educational training to deal with domestic violence. The 2000 contract was extended through the 2004 program year.
County Executive Steinhaus said, “This funding exemplifies the County’s commitment to our coordinated “zero tolerance” policy toward domestic violence. Education can only breed awareness and accountability.”
The contract between Dutchess County and Family Services, Inc. is part of a comprehensive approach in dealing with domestic violence offenders. It is designed to provide consequences in order to hold offenders accountable for their behavior. The Dutchess County Department of Probation and Community Corrections as well as the county courts and the Department of Social Services among others may either mandate or refer offenders to Domestic Abuse Response Classes (DAAC). Class topics include What is domestic abuse and battering, Partner abuse: physical, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse, History of institutional sexism, including legal, societal and cultural forms, Impact of domestic abuse on women, children, men and society, Non-controlling and nonviolent behavior and Respect and Accountability.
Participants are required to attend meetings twice a month and as part of the contract, referring agencies must be kept up-to-date on a participant’s attendance and participation level in class. Classes focus on how individuals belief systems effect their relationships, how batterers can be held accountable, how to communicate without violence and how to end domestic abuse in the community.
“It is my belief that a community approach to combat societal issues is an effective approach,” said Mary Ellen Still, Director, of the Dutchess County Office of Probation and Community Corrections. “Due to the County Executive’s policy, Domestic Abuse Response Classes are frequently made a condition of probation in domestic violence cases and together with Family Services we have been able to reach many violators, hopefully for the better.”
Susan West, President of Family Services, Inc. added, “DAAC is part of our collaborative community response to domestic violence and is a consequence for abusers. Supervision of the program is jointly provided by Battered Women's Services.”
A total of $31,000 was awarded for the continuation of services.