On Monday morning, an international delegation of 15 international visitors from 10 countries in the Near East and North Africa got a behind-the-scenes experience through a tour of The Family Place, a regional domestic violence shelter. Afterward, they had a candid conversation about domestic violence policy with Councilmember Gay Donnell Willis, vice chair of the Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Advisory Council in Dallas, The Family Place staff, and representatives from the Dallas Police Department’s dedicated Domestic Violence Unit.
“This was a great opportunity for Dallas to share its policy expertise and best practices for addressing domestic violence in our community. Dallas is a leader in the way its communities work together to create an ecosystem in which abusers are identified and responded to, and in which survivors of domestic violence can feel safe to heal and thrive,” Willis said.
Dallas is one of several stops they are making over a three-week trip with the goal of taking best practices back to their home countries to build robust systems that support victims of gender-based violence and stop such violence from perpetuating. It is part of a 3-week long International Visitor Leadership Program exchange – Preventing and Confronting Domestic Abuse and Violence – sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and supported by the World Affairs Council DFW.
“The International Visitor Program is an excellent two-way conversation between Dallasites and visiting dignitaries where they can collaborate as citizen diplomats,” said Liz Brailsford, President and CEO of World Affairs Council DFW.
Some of the highlights of tour included the onsite medical clinic, the animal shelter and the domestic violence 24-hour crisis hotline.
The conversation about the city of Dallas’ efforts revolved around the new policies implemented at the state and local levels of Texas in addition to the Dallas Police Department identifying best practices used when responding to family violence calls. Willis also shared the impact of the Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Advisory Council, which is a partnership of city, county, and local nonprofits who work to nurture an ecosystem of protection and recovery for victims of family violence.
“We are so honored to have this opportunity to collaborate on the most effective programs and community initiatives to support survivors of domestic violence,” said Mimi Sterling, CEO of The Family Place. “Domestic violence transcends countries and cultures across the globe, and these conversations have the potential to make lasting impacts on survivors everywhere. We are proud of the innovative solutions we have developed together with our partners, including the City of Dallas and the Dallas Police Department, and are happy to share for the betterment of domestic violence services as a whole.”