Penn Hosts National Conference on Domestic Violence

PHILADELPHIA -- In partnership with the Philadelphia Mayor's domestic violence task force, The University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work is hosting its second conference on domestic violence, "Finding New Directions for Responding to Intimate Violence," June 25-26, at Jon M. Huntsman Hall, 3730 Walnut St.

The conference is part of the mayor's initiative to address the issue after a 20 percent increase in domestic violence calls to 911 last year and the murders last summer of eight Philadelphia women, including a police officer, by their partners.

"When Penn offered to help the task force, we jumped at the chance," said Carol Tracy, co-chair of the task force.  "It was just a tremendous opportunity to take advantage of all the resources at Penn, particularly the expertise of faculty members like Dean Richard Gelles, who's considered one of the top experts on family violence."  

With the theme of "capacity-building," the conference brings together more than 40 national family-violence experts and local service providers who will present the latest research and best strategies for prevention and intervention.

Conference topics include:

  • Batterer Prevention and Intervention Programs.
  • Children in Violent Families.
  • Victim Services and Safety Planning.
  • Culturally Competent Domestic-Violence Interventions.
  • Domestic Violence and Police Training.

Among those taking part in the conference are Philadelphia police officer and domestic violence survivor Ana Rodriguez; Richard Gelles, dean of Penn School of Social Work and author of "The Book of David: How Saving Families can Cost Children's Lives;" and Hamish Sinclair, founder of the San Francisco-based Manalive, which works with male abusers to help them change their behavior.

Among the organizations represented are Women Against Abuse, the Philadelphia district attorney's office, the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women, the Support Center for Child Advocates, and the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community.

More information is available at