domestic violence programs, including representatives from a statewide advocacy organization for the prevention of domestic violence" to develop the model county domestic violence policy. In addition, since responses to victims and perpetrators of domestic violence by human services and health agencies were specified as integral to the policy, representatives of these systems were also included on the task force.
A total of twenty-eight individuals participated on the task force, including representatives from domestic violence programs, law enforcement, district attorneys' offices, the judiciary, probation, schools, employee assistance, substance abuse treatment, mental health, child welfare, social services, and health care. The task force was geographically representative, with task force members from Long Island, New York City, and the upstate regions of the state.
One of the first tasks undertaken as part of this project was the dissemination of a survey to county governments requesting information related to existing policies, procedures, or protocols on domestic violence in each respective county's criminal justice system, the courts, health care services, social and human services, and non-public services. The information collected informed the development of an initial draft of the model county policy. The Task Force, through a series of meetings, reviewed the draft, proposed changes, discussed options, and made recommendations for revision. The revised model policy, based on the recommendations made by the Task Force, was then circulated for public comment.
In August 1997, OPDV convened groups of about thirty professionals in six communities—Clinton, Monroe, Onondaga, Orange, and Steuben counties, and New York City—to discuss the usefulness of the policy as a tool to assist counties in strengthening their responses to domestic violence. The forums included the participation of domestic violence programs, law enforcement, district attorneys' offices, the judiciary, probation, schools, employee assistance, substance abuse treatment, mental health, child welfare, social services, health care, members of faith communities, and community-based agencies. This local community perspective generated constructive ideas for not only improving the model policy language, but in developing strategies for implementation.
In addition to the community forums, public comment was also sought from a team of field reviewers, chosen on the basis of Task Force recommendations, geographical representation, systems' diversity, and organizational affiliation. Their