More than 200 professionals from across New York and Ontario are expected to attend the 15th annual Family Violence Intervention Project conference, "Safe at Home: Seeking Solutions for Adult and Child Victims of Family Violence," on Tuesday, Oct. 1, at The Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls. The conference will feature national speakers who train attendees on state-of-the-art techniques to prevent and intervene in cases of child abuse and domestic violence, with the goal of keeping children and families safe.
Of particular note:
•In his 8:45 a.m. keynote address, "The Batterer as Parent," Lundy Bancroft, author and domestic abuse and child maltreatment consultant, will exam the established profile of men who abuse women, describing the power dynamics and the psychologically poisoned atmosphere that an abuser creates for children in his home. Bancroft will look at some of the specific risks to children that tend to be present in the batterer's parenting style, examine the impact the batterer has on the parenting of the abused woman, and confront the myth that the children's problems are solved when their mother leaves the batterer.
Bancroft has authored four books on the topic of family violence, including "Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men," the largest-selling domestic violence book in history.
Bancroft's address will serve as the prelude to two workshops that will address critical issues in the family violence field: "The Battered Woman in Child Custody and Visitation Disputes," and "The Modern Batterer."
•The morning plenary session will feature Robert Hugh Farley, M.S., retired commanding officer of the Cook County Sheriff's Police, Child Exploitation Unit in Chicago. Farley will present "Undercover as a Pedophile: Six Years in Their Shoes," sharing his experiences during an undercover operation. He will follow-up in the afternoon with workshops addressing the role of technology in child sexual abuse and using freehand drawing techniques with victims of abuse to project and describe their experiences, as well as for investigation purposes.
•Afternoon workshops also will be presented by Tamara Hillard, LICSW, owner of True North Counseling and Consulting in Barnstable, Mass., who will discuss the use of trauma focused-cognitive behavioral therapy as a treatment for victims of abuse and the phenomenon "second generation" child sexual abuse victimization; and Erin Clark, MPH, MBA, a representative from Break the Cycle, who will present on teen dating violence and working with teen victims.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Tuesday's conference will honor victims and survivors of domestic violence with a display of the Clothesline Project, a visual display of shirts with graphic messages and illustrations that have been designed by women survivors of violence or by someone who loves a woman who was killed as a result of violence, as well as a reserved empty table for 16, representing and honoring the 16 women who have died as a result of domestic violence in Niagara County since 1994 when these statistics were recorded.
The "Safe at Home: Seeking Solutions for Adult and Child Victims of Family Violence" conference is sponsored by the Niagara County Family Violence Intervention Project, Child Advocacy Center of Niagara and Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center. Co-sponsors are the Niagara County Department of Mental Health's Trauma Treatment Specialty Services Division, Catholic Charities of Buffalo - Niagara County Services, the Northeast Regional Child Advocacy Center and Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel.