History of Council Against Family
Wayne County's efforts to impact the problem of domestic violence stretches back to 1990 when County Executive Edward H. McNamara established a task force to study reducing all forms of violence in our community. One of the major recommendations that resulted from the efforts of the task force was the creation of domestic violence coordinating council.
In 1992, the Wayne County Coordinating Council to Prevent Domestic Violence (WCCCPDV) held its first meeting. The Council, an official body whose agency members were appointed by the County Executive, accepted a mission to change the way domestic violence was handled in our County. Through an alliance of government, service providers, and community agencies, the Council members began to advocate for the development of a comprehensive, coordinated approach to reducing this crime.
Over the past eight years, the Council has been successful in carrying out its mission.
Monthly Council meetings permit members to identify weaknesses within the various systems, air their frustrations, plan strategies together, and clarify structural and resource issues. The exchanges and cooperation, which occur on the Council, have had a synergistic effect, with each small improvement creating opportunities for greater change.
The Council is unique in that it does not function only in an advisory capacity but utilizes a hands-on approach to addressing problems and needs. For example, we created the Wayne County Domestic Violence Handbook that was developed to inform the community on domestic violence and provide referral information. To date, many thousands of handbooks have been, and continue to be, distributed. We have translated the handbook into Spanish and Arabic.
We also created a booklet for children, "Sometimes...It is Sad to be at Home, What is a Kid to do about Domestic Violence?" which has been distributed across the state. The booklet has also been translated and distributed in Arabic and Spanish. We worked to develop "Wayne County Standards for Batterer Intervention Programs" to ensure that appropriate methods are employed to provide accountability for battering behavior and safety for women and children.
As a result, many Council members were asked to participate in the Governor's Task Force to create statewide standards for programs. Through various members of the Council, training has been and continues to be provided to local law enforcement agencies and police academies, probation and parole officers, social service workers, 911 operators and dispatchers, schools, colleges, and any other agency or group that desires to learn about current information and procedures.
In January of 1999, we formally changed the name of the Council to "The Wayne County Council Against Family Violence," in recognition of the various forms of violence that occur within families. Like Wayne County, communities across Michigan and the nation have found that the creation of effective councils involved in issues of prevention, education, and intervention in the area of family violence creates commitments from their leaders. It is our hope that this commitment, the reduction of family violence, will become an enduring aspect of our community's public policy.