University of Oregon to host forum on reducing violence in Lane County

EUGENE, Ore. -- (Jan. 28, 2011) - Community leaders in Eugene and Springfield will meet Saturday, Feb. 5, to roll up their sleeves with child and family advocates and abuse survivors to tackle the important topic of domestic violence.

"Partnership for Nonviolence: Health, Nonviolence, and Trauma Healing" is a free, public event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the University of Oregon, 220 HEDCO Education Building, 1655 Alder St. in Eugene.

According to Jeff Todahl, event organizer and assistant professor at the UO College of Education's Couples and Family Therapy Program, members of the community are invited to participate and become directly involved in prevention efforts.

"Our goals are to stimulate community-wide thinking toward a well-coordinated and thoughtfully targeted plan to significantly reduce child maltreatment and intimate partner violence exposure in the Eugene and Springfield community," said Todahl.

The Feb. 5 event includes presentations by experts, as well as personal reflections from abuse survivors. Panelists include Bobby Green, former Lane County Commissioner; Colt Gill, superintendent, Bethel School District; Carmen Urbina, parent, community and diversity coordinator, Eugene 4J School District; Elaine Walters, executive director, Trauma Healing Project; and others.

"I hope our discussion sparks the initiative to come together with a commitment to heal and stop abuse and violence," said Elaine Walters. "As a community, we have gotten better at working with survivors in crisis after violence has occurred; now we need to increase our capacity to support full healing and recovery for survivors, family members and the wider community. When we are able to acknowledge, believe and listen to survivors with compassion we will have taken a powerful step forward in our efforts to curb and eliminate violence within families. "

In summer 2009, Trauma Healing Project conducted a Survivor Voices study of 351 Eugene and Springfield area survivors of violence. The study found that most participants experienced or witnessed violence before the age of 12, including 48 percent before the age of 6. The study also asked about intervention by others when violence was suspected or reported. More than 67 percent of respondents indicated that never or rarely did someone try to step in or protect them. The study results will be included as part of the discussion about how to pursue dramatic violence reductions locally.

The Feb. 5 event is part of the 90by30 project that seeks to reduce child abuse and neglect in Lane County by 90 percent by the year 2030. The discussion is designed as one key step toward a 10-week intensive planning conversation to occur in a spring term UO College of Education course. The event -- and the resulting discussions -- will form the course syllabus as the framework for how to achieve the goal.

"The goal is bold, but we're optimistic," said Todahl. "This partnership between the community organizations, the community at large, and the university is bringing the necessary individuals together to directly impact a social problem like violence."

About the University of Oregon
The University of Oregon is a world-class teaching and research institution and Oregon's flagship public university. The UO is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization made up of the 63 leading public and private research institutions in the United States and Canada. The University of Oregon is one of only two AAU members in the Pacific Northwest.

MEDIA CONTACT: Julie Brown, UO media relations, 541-346-3185,
SOURCE: Jeff Todahl, UO Couples and Family Therapy Program, 541-346-0919,