Domestic Violence Awareness Month Proclamation 

I am sorry to miss the proclamation this year. I want to thank the panelists for presenting today on the great work they do day in and day out in the Domestic Violence community, and for their constant and dedicated support of survivors, including through the incredible challenges of the past year and a half.

This annual proclamation is so important -- because it casts light on an issue that is still too often in the shadows: still too often viewed as a private family matter, or as a “women’s issue”, or as ancillary to other more important issues. In fact, domestic violence is intertwined with and connected to all of the most pressing issues of our time, including racial injustice; gender injustice; poverty and economic inequality; houselessness; and public safety. It affects those who commit violence, those who experience it directly, and those - in particular, children - who are in its environment.

I want to highlight the amazing work being done by the Department of County Human Services, specifically the Domestic and Sexual Violence Coordinating Office, to rethink our systems of care for survivors. For years we have said that one of the most important things we can do is to center survivors' voices. Not just for advice, or to provide feedback on already created programming, but as the driver of policy, programs, and practice.

DSVCO, in partnership with my office, has spent the last six months working strategically with the Multnomah Idea Lab and a core design team, to dream up what a system would look like if we genuinely centered survivors’ voices. The design team will be bringing forward their recommendations in the next several months, and I am so proud of and grateful for their work. I appreciate their willingness to challenge the norm and make our systems accessible and shaped by survivors, the true experts in this field. 

While there is so much work that needs to be done to end domestic violence in Multnomah County, we continue pushing toward our goal of a violence free community.

Thank you again to all the panelists.  I look forward to our continued work.