2018 Domestic Violence Summit

On October 26, 2018, a diverse group of community members gathered at the University of Cincinnati College of Law to attend and participate in a Hamilton County Domestic Violence Summit.  This Summit was collaboratively conceived of and organized by individuals at the Hamilton County Adult Probation Department, Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, Ohio Justice and Policy Center, University of Cincinnati College of Law Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice, Women Helping Women, and YWCA Greater Cincinnati, out of their shared commitment to improving systemwide response to domestic violence locally. 

Improving systemwide response requires systemwide participation, thus, the Summit organizers aimed to bring together people from various different local organizations and agencies whose work involves intimate partner abuse – and we succeeded.  Over 110 people attended, including: law enforcement, social workers, magistrates and judges, child welfare workers and advocates, victim advocates, probation and parole officers, criminal defense, prosecutors, and domestic relations lawyers, batterer intervention program staff, professors and law students, and mediators.  The below summary briefly describes what happened at the Summit and also identifies specific issues and possible next steps.

Training Topics Included:

  • Batterer manipulation,
  • The systemic challenges and obstacles victims face, 
    Research on Recantation,
  • Why victims stay in abusive relationships and/or don’t participate in prosecutions,
  • Lethality factors and assessment, and
  • Post-conviction best practices

Small Group Workshops: After lunch, ten small groups met in break-out sessions to discuss two hypothetical situations. By design, these groups included participants who work in different areas of the system to facilitate discussions from varying perspectives and priorities, to identify potential gaps in the system, and to encourage brainstorming on how to develop collaborative, systemwide strategies for improvement.

Plenary Panel Discussion: “Best Practices, Goals, and Next Steps”: The Summit’s final session was a plenary panel discussion designed to build on the day’s earlier trainings and small group workshops, and to help pull things together.  Each of the five panelists spoke briefly about where his or her organization fit into Hamilton County’s systems and structures for addressing and responding to domestic violence, and about that organization’s existing best practices relating to collaborating with others in the system. The moderator opened up the panel for attendee/audience Q&A, with the goal of discussing how different actors in the system can foster a more integrated response to domestic violence in Hamilton County.  Following Q&A, the panel transitioned to a discussion of “next steps” that had begun to emerge from the day’s work and the panel’s and audience members’ insights.

Resources Available in Hamilton County: The planning committee for the Summit compiled a list of domestic violence-related resources available in Hamilton County that was included in the packet of materials distributed to the participants

Issues Identified and Possible Next Steps: Based on the discussion that took place during the final session of the Summit, a review of the notes taken in the break-out groups, and the evaluations, the following is a summary of key issues identified and possible next steps.

Issues Identified (recurring)Possible Next Steps
Partnerships between law
enforcement and victim advocacy
agencies for early intervention (i.e., DVERT Program (CPD and Women Helping Women) and LAP Program (Colerain PD and YWCA))
Create more collaborations
between law enforcement and DV advocates for early and
comprehensive response
Cultural competency – Adequately
addressing the needs of our most under-served, vulnerable, minority, and immigrant populations
Recruiting, hiring, and training
officers who are multi-lingual
Translation services to improve
and increase more community
liaisons to work with/for diverse
Need to move to evidence-based
– Strangulation
– Identifying primary aggressor
Training based on known best
Strangulations should be
prosecuted as felonies (deadly
force); police officers can serve as
Collect evidence so that DV cases
can be prosecuted without victim
Need for greater understanding of victims’ circumstances, actions,
and responses
Community education on the
impact of batterer manipulation,
why victims don’t leave abusive
relationships and/or cooperate
with prosecution
Remove barriers in the systems
Use trauma-informed practices
with victims
Need for more systemwide
understanding of protection
orders, Amy’s Law, and lethality
Systemwide Training
Need for more coordination
between criminal and civil systems
Community conversations to
improve communication and
Identifying opportunities for
Services for children who are
abused and exposed to violence,
who are at risk of themselves
becoming abusers and/or juvenile offenders
Identifying existing resources and gaps
Privacy issues related to the use of body worn cameras and video by
the parties
Community education on what is
happening, best practices, and the
Pre-trial issues:  Bond, Bail, and
Electronic Monitoring
Community education on what is
happening, best practices, and the
Everyone is a potential first
Training for first responders,
broadly defined

With generous funding from:

Co-Sponsored By:


Women Helping Women

Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio

Ohio Justice and Policy Center 

Hamilton County Courts

The Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice