Overcoming Challenges within Domestic Violence Task Forces
The chart below outlines some common challenges communities have reported experiencing when establishing and maintaining coordination (primarily focused on task forces) and some ideas to overcome those challenges. OPDV is available to provide technical assistance to communities in overcoming their challenges with task forces and other community coordination efforts
Task Force Loses Focus
- Up-front and on-going planning can help to create and maintain a focus
for the task force.
- Establish mission and vision statements
- Set long-term and short-term goals
- Assess your progress at least twice a year and redirect efforts as necessary.
Members stop coming to meetings
Changes in the structure of the task force might help here. Don’t
try to meet all of your community’s needs around domestic violence
with one monthly meeting.
- Establish a core group of the key people that need to be involved
to guide the work of the task force (ie, the Police Chief, the
District Attorney, etc.). Have that group meet quarterly.
- Form workgroups to address specific issues/projects. This might
include line workers who aren’t involved in the actual task force. The
workgroups report back to the task force.
- Have “informational” sessions that are separate from task force meetings where anyone who is interested can attend to learn about the issue of domestic violence, what is happening in the community, new initiatives, etc.
- Have written policies, interagency agreements and/or bylaws. This will
institutionalize practice and will create a historical record of the
- Send a letter to the agency that the departing member came from letting them know how valuable their representation is and encouraging them to replace their task force representative promptly.
- Mission and vision statements put forth the group's overall philosophy
but group members can still come into conflict in dealing with complex
issues. The best way to deal with this is to view all the actions of the
task force through the lens of safety for battered women and their children.
- Make sure that the domestic violence program has a leadership role
in the task force.
- Examine any new policy, project or practice for possible unintended
consequences for battered women.
- Whenever possible, solicit input directly from battered women.
Lack of resources
- Be creative
- Rotate responsibility for “running” the meetings (minutes,
agendas, mailings) regularly so it doesn’t fall on any one
- Look for ways to collaborate with other efforts that exist in the
community. For example, is there a group that already has an
established mailing list of a group you want to reach out to that would
include something for you in their next mailing?
- Have a member of the group commit to follow up on points of action in between meetings to improve follow through. Rotate this responsibility.
Copyright © 2006 by the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence