The Summit County Domestic Violence Audit Team would like to respond to an article published on Jan. 8 about "systemic failures for victims of abuse." As the leader of the audit team, I was particularly disappointed in the negative and critical portrayal by the Summit Daily of our community's response to domestic violence. I would like to take the opportunity to explain why we chose to participate in this process and how it is benefiting the community, most importantly victims of domestic violence. Our local Violence Prevention Team was presented with an opportunity to participate in a Safety and Accountability Audit. We applied, as we thought this would be a great opportunity to take a look at our response to domestic violence. We were chosen because of our existing relationships between agencies and a shared commitment toward our desire to ensure victims were being treated with dignity, fairness and respect and being offered appropriate services. The team, including members from each law enforcement agency, probation, social services, district attorney's office, advocates and treatment providers, proactively chose to take advantage of this opportunity. We did not do this because we thought we had a problem, but because we wanted to make certain we were doing the best job possible. An audit, by its very nature is a critical process and one in which participants and agencies have to be willing to be transparent and trusting of others. Each participant has gained an increase in understanding of each other's jobs and have a high level of respect for the work that each part of the system has to do. We have been extremely proud of the collaborative relationships that have only been enhanced through this process. In fact, the audit team was impressed by how most responses to domestic violence calls were performed well, but like any responsible individual or entity, we saw the benefit in taking a critical look at ourselves. This has been an extremely positive endeavor and one that all of the team members and participating agencies are proud of. We have not found "systemic failures" through this process. We have found agencies and workers committed to improving for the benefit of victims of domestic violence and our community at large. I, for one, am proud to be a part of this system.
Amy Jackson, executive director Advocates for Victims of Assault
On behalf of the Summit County Domestic Violence Audit Team