Coordinated Community Responses to Domestic Violence in Six Communities: Beyond the Justice System. Cross-Training


Many people we spoke with felt that one of the greatest benefits to coordination was cross-fertilization and cross-training that results from these efforts. Such training gives people a better understanding their role within the overall system and an opportunity to learn about domestic violence from different perspectives. For example, police learn what prosecutors need for a conviction, domestic violence service providers learn what limitations the police face, and people working with battered women learn from victim advocates about the cycle of violence and why victims stay in abusive relationships.

A lot of education and sharing of information occurs informally in these sites due to the interaction between the various agencies. There are also a number of examples of formal cross- agency training. Advocates provided a great deal of training for criminal justice agencies in many of the sites. In San Francisco, for example, the Family Violence Prevention Fund developed a training curriculum and trained all members of the San Francisco Police Department in the 1980s. Project Assist in Kansas City also did training for law enforcement officers throughout the state. Criminal justice agencies also did training for each other and for other organizations in the sites. In one case, prosecutors trained the doctors and nurses in an emergency room on how to document domestic violence.

In cross-training, it is important to include someone from the agency being trained on the training team. Many organizations are resistant to people coming in from the outside and telling them how to do their job. One person emphasized that trainers "can't get on a soapbox" in a law enforcement setting. Having someone from the agency involved in the training may give it more credibility. In Kansas City, a captain from the police department paired up with a staff person from a shelter to train law enforcement agencies in outlying communities. Trading training between agencies or inviting other agencies to participate in a training session saves resources and eliminates duplication of efforts.