Conference on domestic violence opens in Vicksburg

Published 7:40 pm Thursday, October 18, 2018

Mississippi’s domestic violence laws and domestic violence and drug and alcohol abuse were main topics for discussion as the second annual Vicksburg Domestic Violence Conference got underway at the Vicksburg Auditorium.

Thursday’s program was the opening session of the two-day conference, and featured programs by Paula Broome, special assistant attorney general, and Vicksburg physician Dr. Randy Easterling, an addiction specialist. The Friday session begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. Lunch will be served from noon to 1 p.m.

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Some of the groups attending the opening session included representatives from Mountain of Faith women’s shelter, and Haven House Family Shelter.

“I’m glad to see Mountain of Faith here,” said Municipal Judge Toni Terrett, one of the program’s organizers. “I’m happy to see them interacting with the speaker; that impresses me that they are paying attention and being interactive with the speaker.”

Haven House, Terrett said, is one of the partners with the Vicksburg Domestic Violence Victims Empowerment Program, and helped us put the conference together.

Broome discussed the state’s domestic violence laws using videos and a PowerPoint display.

Although most of her time involves teaching at police academies and training sessions with judges and prosecutors, Broome said she also does programs at conferences to help people better know the state’s domestic violence laws.

“It’s just to inform everyone of what our laws say, and what some of the challenges are. Certainly the better everyone is informed, the safer people will be; they know their options, and that is helpful,” she said.

Unless someone’s profession brings them into contact with the law, they don’t necessarily know the details, she said.

“They have general ideas, because the laws have been around for a while, but they don’t necessarily know the ins and outs of what our laws say or what some of the options are, and certainly if they’re working with victims, we want them to be aware.”

The Friday session, Terrett said, will feature speakers and a panel discussion with security officials from local businesses and government agencies discussing how they protect employees and customers from domestic violence in the workplace.

Friday’s session will open with an address from Wendy Mahoney of the Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Other speakers will be Gregory Ramses Fultz, a domestic violence victim, predator and now advocate, who will talk about his experience in the sex trafficking trade, and Christy Pickering, a domestic violence survivor and motivational speaker.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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