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Shifting the Lens: Statewide Domestic Violence Conference


We are excited to announce our request for workshop proposals! Submit yours by November 10th, 2017.

Interested in becoming a conference sponsor? Click here to view our sponsorship opportunities. 

Since 2015, we’ve convened hundreds of advocates to ask how we could shift our movement’s lens and broaden our focus to address provocative questions about domestic violence responses in California. Over the years, we have made tremendous progress towards transforming our approach to domestic violence. On March 5-6, 2018, we will continue to broaden the focus and engage a larger community to find answers to pressing questions that impact survivors, their families and communities. 


Victim safety and offender accountability have been central figures in the domestic violence field over the last few decades. As a result, we’ve seen significant expansion in crisis responses and legal interventions. When we look at a snapshot depicting our statewide response to domestic violence, these crisis responses and legal interventions appear as the predominant images in our picture. 

What happens when we shift the lens and look at domestic violence with a broader view? 

While our crisis responses and legal interventions typically look like victims leaving and offenders going to jail, when we refocus the lens:

  • We see many survivors who want to keep their families together and the efforts they’re making to find effective solutions that increase safety  while supporting healing
  • We see people who use abuse to maintain power and control that want compassionate help to change their behavior
  • We see families struggling with the weight of multiple pressures and layers of oppression
  • We see resilient communities pulling together in strength to improve their neighborhoods
  • We see activists uniting around common concerns

And we see opportunities for multi-disciplinary allies to think creatively, take risks and try new approaches.

We are at a momentous time when all involved in the domestic violence field have the opportunity to step back, shift the lens, broaden our focus and see the bigger picture. All across the state people continue to engage in critical conversations and raising questions such as: 

  • How can we meet families where they are?
  • How has the traditional victim vs. offender framework impacted families?
  • What might it look like to offer supports that aren’t dependent on the victim leaving or the offender going to jail? 
  • What do we hear from communities about the impact and effectiveness of our current intervention approaches? 
  • What do we mean by “accountability” and what does it actually look like?
  • What role does “healing” play in our work with individuals, families and communities? 

In 2018, we will continue to grapple with the necessary changes to center the needs of the most marginalized survivors of domestic violence, their families and communities. So we now ask: 

  • What does this new landscape look like? Who will lead us there?
  • What models will we follow to achieve this goal?
  • Will this result in dismantling or augmenting the work being done?
  • Given the work that the mothers of our movement have done, how do we honor that work while pivoting to a  different place?

This year’s conference is about getting the right people in the room together to Shift The Lens — so we see the issue of domestic violence through a broader community landscape where strengths and collaborative solutions are revealed.