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Coalition Responds to Family Violence Issues

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By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – The Erie County Coalition Against Family Violence Wednesday unveiled a coordinated response to improve victims' safety.

More than 100 organizations, law enforcement agencies and community members from across Erie County are joining in the new collaborative effort. Representatives spent six months developing the comprehensive plan for a countywide response to family violence.

Buffalo Police Lieutenant David Mann, vice chair of the coalition, says the collaboration builds on the progress made in recent years.

"The county's response on family violence is already very good," Mann said. "But we want to maximize what we have, so that each individual who comes to any agency for help gets the benefit of all the service and agencies that we have in the county around this issue."

In addition to improving the safety and support of victims, the plan seeks greater accountability of batterers and the sytems that monitor them. One goal is to establish a countywide battererer registry by the year 2005. The database would allow law enforcement to better track offenders and protect victims. Mann says, as with all policing, a comprehensive, accountable sytem is most effective.

"We have significant case review around child fatalities and around child sexual assault and abuse in the county," he said. "And we want to duplicate that process around other issues in familiy violence, so that we meet regularly to look at the way we're doing things and continually find better ways to do things."

To make significant progress, Mann says private organizations and individuals throughout the community also need to come forward to help promote awareness and prevention.