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Reality DV: Domestic Violence in Appalachian Culture

October 7, 2022
8:45 am – 3:15 pm

REGISTRATION FOR THIS CONFERENCE HAS CLOSED

Reality DV: Domestic Violence in Appalachian Culture
– Outreach Educational Event –

Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center, Abingdon, VA
1 Partnership Circle, Abingdon, VA 24210

$40.00
Breakfast Pastries, Coffee, Drinks and Lunch Included


Event Sponsors

Virginia Law Foundation Logo
Anthem Healthkeepers Plus logo
Walmart Logo

Approved for Continuing Education Credits for Law Enforcement, Guardians Ad Litem, Adult Protection Services and Magistrates/Clerks for the Reality DV Conference
Pending Approval for Attorneys

Approved for Continuing Education Credits for Law Enforcement, Guardians Ad Litem, Adult Protection Services and Magistrates/Clerks for the Reality DV Conference
Pending Approval for Attorneys

CEU information – How to obtain for the Reality DV conference.

Magistrates/ClerksSupervisors for magistrates/clerks will approve credit hours after attendee submit credit hours electronically through the eRegistration system after conference.
AttorneysPending Approval for 5.0 credit hours including (0.0) credit hours for Ethics by the Virginia Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Board.
Guardian Ad LitemApproved for 5.0 credit hours for Career Development.
Law EnforcementApproved for 1 hour Legal and 3 hours Career Development
Adult Protection ServicesAPS workers will receive a certificate of attendance after the conference with hours attended to submit to their supervisor for approval of continuing education hours up to 5.0 credit hours.

Event Starts In


For more information, please contact:

GARY CODY
Director of Development
Southwest Virginia Legal Aid Society
email: gcody@svlas.org
phone: 276.783.8300, ext. 2011


8:45 amWelcome & Introductions
Joseph R. Carico, Executive Director, Southwest Virginia Legal Aid Society
9:00 amKEYNOTE: Cassie Chambers – Examining Domestic Violence Trends in Rural and Urban Areas
Cassie Chambers, Author and Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Louisville
10:15 amBreak & Session Change
10:30 amBREAKOUT SESSIONS: (Choose 1 Room)

Know More, Do More: Recognizing and Responding to Stalking
Dana Fleitman, Stalking Prevention and Awareness Resource Center

Recent Developments in Poverty Law: Domestic and Sexual Violence
Susheela Varky, Virginia Poverty Law Center

Domestic Violence in the Church – Helping Churches Become Safe Havens
Ashley Manuel, Family Resource Center
11:45 amLunch Break & SVLAS Direct Referral Process Presentation
SVLAS StaffDV Advocate/Paralegal, Debbie Marshall and Senior Managing Attorney, Anita Robinson will discuss the direct referral process
12:30 pmBREAKOUT SESSIONS: (Choose 1 Room)

Mental Health Crisis in Rural SW VA Culture
Angel Mefford, Family Crisis Center; Natasha Chandler, Wise Co. Sheriff’s Office DV Investigator; and Sandi Stapleton, Wise Co. Victim Witness

Spiritual Christian Beliefs in Appalachian Culture
Mark Edwards, Bristol Police Dept. Investigator

Understanding Domestic Violence
Miranda Hucks, DV Victim of estranged ex-husband NASCAR Driver, Eric McClure
1:45 pmBreak & Session Change
2:00 pmBREAKOUT SESSIONS: (Choose 1 Room)

Stalking 2.0: The Use of Technology to Stalk
Dana Fleitman, Stalking Prevention and Awareness Resource Center

The Victim’s Voice – A Different Perspective of Virginia’s First No Body Murder Conviction
Dlana Hall Bodmer, Author – The Miraculous Journey—A Day Made In Heaven
3:15 pmFinal Thoughts
Gary Cody, Director of Development, Southwest Virginia Legal Aid Society
Cassie Chambers Armstrong

Cassie Chambers Armstrong – KEYNOTE

Cassie Chambers Armstrong is a 2015 graduate of Harvard Law School, where she was President of the Legal Aid Bureau. She subsequently was selected to be a Skadden Fellow and with that award worked for two years as an attorney at Louisville Legal Aid Society and the Kentucky Equal Justice Center, where she represented victims of domestic violence in family law matters, designed and implemented a comprehensive program to provide legal services to rural victims of domestic violence and litigated appeals on poverty law issues. Before beginning her practice, she clerked for Judge Amul Thapar, now at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and then a Judge at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.
Professor Armstrong received a B.A. from Yale College, summa cum laude, in 2010, an M.P.H. from Yale in 2011 and an M.Sc. in Public Management and Governance from the London School of Economics in 2012.
She is a native Kentuckian, having grown up in eastern Kentucky. Her book, Hill Women: Finding Family and a Way Forward in the Appalachian Mountains was published by Random House in 2020. She was elected to Louisville Metro Council’s District 8 seat in June 2020.


Miranda Hucks

Miranda Hucks

Miranda Hucks is a family nurse practitioner, a mom to seven girls and stepmom to three boys. She is also a domestic violence survivor. She has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science in nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner.


Mark Edwards

Mark Wilson Edwards

Mark Edwards was born on November 13, 1978, in Richlands Virginia. He graduated from Lebanon High School in May 1997, which by that time, he had decided to become a police officer. Mark attended Southwest Virginia Community College for 2 years, earned an Associate degree in police science, and finished his tenure on the dean’s list. He attended the Southwest VA Criminal Justice Training Academy in 2000, which lasted 16 weeks at that time. He started work at the Bristol VA Police Department on March 12, 2001. He received officer of the year in 2011 and received the MADD award 3 years in a row (2011-2013), which is an award for the most DUI arrests in the department. He made Detective in 2015, this is specialized in the area of Domestic Violence, which has been a humbling and gratifying experience. On August 03, 2013, he truly had a born-again experience. The Lord called me to open a church, to be the Pastor, and to name it The Cross of Christ Worship Center. The first church service was held on February 08, 2015 and is still going strong to date. The Church is located at 670 Norfolk Ave. Bristol, VA and is truly a house of prayer. God is so good!!!!!


Anita Earp Robinson

Anita Earp Robinson is the Senior Managing Attorney of Southwest Virginia Legal Aid. Anita oversees the Centralized Intake Unit and Private Attorney Involvement programs. Anita has over 35 years’ experience as an attorney committed to the representation of low-income clients. Anita is also responsible for the development of protocol to insure SVLAS’s compliance with grant requirements and the Virginia State Bar Rules of Professional Conduct.


Deborah Marshall

Deborah Marshall, has an associate degree in Paralegal Studies, a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Bluefield College and has worked with SVLAS as an intake paralegal for 16 years. She resides in Castlewood, VA and has two children. Ms. Marshall has been the point person for the domestic violence referrals for the past 4 years and is also a survivor of domestic violence.


Angel Mefford

Angel Mefford

Angel Mefford, the Community Education and Advocacy Coordinator for Family Crisis Support Services is no stranger to the culture of rural Appalachian living. A native of Wise, VA. Ms. Mefford received her master’s degree in Human Services Counseling from Liberty University and her Bachelor degree from UVA-Wise. She continuously rotates working as an advocate to victims of violent crimes, providing education and support to the students of Wise County, and working in conjunction with the Sheriff’s Office to utilize the LAP program for domestic violence. Ms. Mefford has worked in the field of human services and advocacy for 18 years. In addition to a lifelong passion for helping, Angel also sings songs for the cause of empowerment, justice, and freedom at different events.


Natasha Chandler

Natasha Chandler

Investigator Natasha Chandler with Wise County Sheriff’s Office. Natasha has been employed with Wise County for about 5 years. She has been the Domestic Violence Investigator for half a year and loves every second of it. Her favorite part of her job and what she excels greatly in, is charging defendants with violating protective orders.


Susheela Varky

Susheela Varky

Susheela Varky has been involved in the public interest arena for more than 30 years. In DC, she gained national and local experience in housing and women’s issues at organizations such as McAuley Institute, The National Housing Trust, and Women Empowered Against Violence. In 1998, she joined the national drafting committee of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and helped write VAWA’s original housing provisions. Since moving to Richmond in 2003, Ms. Varky has worked for Legal Information Network for Cancer (LINC), the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia (OES) and is currently the Director of the Center for Family Advocacy and the Attorney for Domestic and Sexual Violence at Virginia Poverty Law Center (VPLC).
At VPLC, Ms. Varky collaborates with state and local stakeholders, conducts trainings, engages in advocacy, provides legal consultations, and takes compelling domestic and/or sexual violence, immigration-related cases through a pro bono legal program she started in 2009 called Legal Assistance to Victim-Immigrants of Domestic Abuse (LA VIDA). In addition to these responsibilities, Ms. Varky leads VPLC’s Center for Family Advocacy, where she oversees team members’ work on family law, domestic and sexual violence, immigration, and child welfare.


Dlana Hall Bodmer

Dlana Hall Bodmer

Dlana Hall Bodmer is a successful 30-year local businesswoman. She is a life member of the MDRT, a highly recognized mark of excellence and limited to only the most successful in the financial services profession with exceptional professional knowledge, strict ethical conduct and outstanding client services. Dlana is the sister of Gina Renee Hall, the victim in Virginia’s First successful “No Body” Murder Conviction. Her many Life Experiences have led to advocacy for victims of heinous crimes–A Voice for Victims. Dlana has authored two non-fiction books — two very different books. The Miraculous Journey—A Day Made in Heaven, her memoir of an extraordinary experience & Web of Lies—A Day Made in Hell, the factual resource for The True Story of Gina Hall–Dlana is Gina’s Voice.


Dana Fleitman

Dana Fleitman

Dana Fleitman (M.A. Ed. H.D.) has been with the Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center (SPARC) since 2018. In her role as Training and Awareness Specialist, she provides training and technical assistance to multidisciplinary professionals across the country on recognizing and responding to stalking. Dana is a skilled trainer who leads in-person and online workshops on topics including stalking behaviors and dynamics, stalking on campuses, the use of technology to stalk, risk assessment, and safety planning. With a focus on public awareness, Dana also authors original resources – including ready-to-use curricula, discussion guides, and publications on stalking – and leads SPARC’s National Stalking Awareness Month efforts each January, designing and creating SPARC’s social media campaigns as well as infographics and videos year-round.


Ashley Manual

Ashley Manuel

Ashley Manuel is a Certified Trauma Services Specialist through the Association of Traumatic Stress Specialist and currently serves as the Lethality Assessment Program Coordinator for the Family Resource Center. Ashley has worked in the Human Services field for almost twenty-years and has worn many hats: Adult Probation Officer, Child Forensic Interviewer, Juvenile Residential Service provider, In-Home service provider to those with Intellectual Disabilities and Drug and Alcohol Rehab Technician just to name a few. She loves to travel and cook with her husband and laugh as much as possible!


Sandi Stapleton

Sandi Stapleton

Wise County & Norton City Victim/Witness Program Director

Reality D.V. – Domestic Violence in Appalachian Culture
Friday, Oct. 7th, 2022 – SW Higher Education Center, Abingdon, VA

Presented by Southwest Virginia Legal Aid Society in collaboration with the Domestic Violence Conference Planning Group comprised of several community action, victim witness, law enforcement and victim advocates.


SESSION DESCRIPTIONS

Keynote: Examining Domestic Violence Trends in Rural and Urban Areas
Presenter – Cassie Chambers Armstrong, Author, and Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Louisville
Description – Keynote session will kick-off the conference with examining domestic violence in the Appalachian Mountains and how trends are different for victims in the region compared to urban areas.


Stalking 2.0: The Use of Technology to Stalk
Presenter – Dana Fleitman, Stalking Prevention and Awareness Resource Center
Description – Stalkers are creative criminals who use – and misuse – a variety of technologies to locate, surveil and monitor their victims. This webinar will address common technologies utilized by stalkers, discuss evidence preservation concerns as well as identify effective safety-planning strategies.


Understanding Domestic Violence
Presenter – Miranda Hucks, DV Victim of estranged ex-husband, NASCAR Driver, Eric McClure
Description – This session will explore the dynamics of domestic violence relationships, statistics and examples. Current laws and resources will also be discussed. Finally, how each person can make a difference to stop the violence.


Domestic Violence in the Church – Helping Churches Become Safe Havens
Presenter – Ashley Manuel, Family Resource Center
Description – The Appalachian Bible belt has churches on every corner who offer to be safe havens for all; but how equipped are they to truly help individuals experiencing domestic violence? Often these victims are told by their church leaders to just “pray more”, “have more faith” “just be submissive and obedient”. This advice is dangerous, misleading and very disappointing to those who have finally decided to reach out for help. In this session you will hear about real cases of domestic violence in the church, how church leaders handled/mishandled these situations and how victims were made to feel. You will leave with the knowledge of how to help your church leaders to: Recognize the signs of domestic violence, truly help individuals in this type of situation and show them that domestic violence within a family can also be a danger to the church as a whole


Lunch Break & SVLAS Direct Referral Process – no CEUs for this session
Presenters – SVLAS Staff – DV Advocate/Paralegal, Debbie Marshall and Senior Managing Attorney, Anita Robinson
Description – This brief overview will explain how direct referrals work and why following the procedures is important. Our DV Advocate and Senior Managing Attorney will discuss the direct referral process and the ethical and grant requirements requiring the referral process.


Mental Health Crisis in Rural SW VA Culture
Presenters – Angel Mefford, Family Crisis Center; Natasha Chandler, Wise Co. Sheriff’s Office DV Investigator; and Sandi Stapleton, Wise Co. Victim Witness
Description – There is a lapse in mental healthcare all over the United States; rural areas are statistically higher in numbers of individuals that need said care but aren’t receiving it. Southwest Virginia is no different. The stigma of not just having a mental illness but needing mental healthcare without a diagnosis comes with generations of engrained thinking, religious undertones, and severe trauma that is a vicious cycle.


Spiritual Christian Beliefs in Appalachian Culture
Presenter – Mark Edwards, Bristol Police Dept. Investigator
Description – This session is going to be the importance of the Appalachian Region Values, such as Familism, Neighborliness, Individualism, Solidarity, and Patriotism. These are some of the reasons why Spiritual Christian Beliefs may keep an individual in Domestic Violence. This session has a lot of scripture from the King James Version Bible to compare why this is such a stronghold in the Appalachian region.


Recent Developments in Poverty Law: Domestic and Sexual Violence
Presenter – Susheela Varky, Virginia Poverty Law Center
Description – This session will cover the overview of changes in Virginia Law/Policies that affect domestic and sexual violence victims and has become effective on July 1, 2022.


Know More, Do More: Recognizing and Responding to Stalking
Presenter – Dana Fleitman, Stalking Prevention and Awareness Resource Center
Description – Stalking is a prevalent, dangerous and often misunderstood crime. This session explores the dynamics of stalking, focusing on the highly contextual nature of the crime by discussing common tactics used by perpetrators, stalking’s co-occurrence with domestic and sexual violence as well as tools to plan for victim safety and hold offenders accountable.


The Victim’s Voice – A Different Perspective of Virginia’s First No Body Murder Conviction
Presenter – Dlana Hall Bodmer, Author – The Miraculous Journey—A Day Made In Heaven
Description – In all areas relating to crime, many lessons can be derived from Dlana’s real-life experiences. Dlana lived the nightmare in 1980 searching the New River Valley for months for her sister’s hidden body, was the Prosecutions’ first witness in the trial, and the more recent 2016 reading of her sister’s extensive investigative case file. And, of most interest…. the rest of the journey. In her quest for truth, Dlana brings a unique perspective to her sister’s murder. A thought-provoking experience when crime intersects with Spirituality.