September 21, 2013

Pioneer for prevention of domestic violence to speak at conference

Submitted by event organizers

— As a man devoted to his faith and to the prevention of domestic violence, David Kitts has been an instrumental part of creating numerous programs in his hometown of Knoxville, Tenn., that protect victims, bring abusers to justice and help to spread awareness to prevent future violence.

Kitts will be the keynote speaker at the Seventh Annual Domestic Violence Conference hosted at Dalton State College on Friday, Oct. 25. The annual conference is sponsored by the Conasauga Family Violence Alliance, the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Georgia Cares, the Georgia Commission on Family Violence, McGuffey Elder Law Practice, the Northwest Georgia Family Crisis Center, Shaw Floors and the Dalton State College Department of Social Work.

Kitts is the director of the Knoxville Police Department’s Family Crimes Unit, which he helped to establish in 2009. Along with this program, he aided in the creation of the Knox County Clergy Task Force Against Domestic Violence in 2002 and the Knoxville Family Justice Center in 2005.

A native of Halls, Tenn., Kitts is an eighth-generation Tennessean with a deep devotion to his faith and love of his roots.

“Faith in Christ is the core of my being,” Kitts said. “My motives and actions are constantly being weighed in light of what I was taught in Sunday school as a child and my theological training in seminary.”

Kitts received his doctorate from Southern Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and completed graduate work at both Cambridge and Oxford universities in England.

“Traveling abroad opened my eyes to different worldviews and global perspectives,” said Kitts.

He will present a keynote address on “Religion and Domestic Violence: Theology and Abuse” and a breakout session on “Religion and Domestic Violence: Engaging Faith Communities in Responding to Domestic Violence.” In the afternoon, he will speak in a plenary session on domestic violence in the workplace and in another breakout session on the investigation of domestic violence strangulation injuries.

“My goal is to make people aware of the ways a victim’s faith can be undermined both by the abuser as well as unintentionally by their own religious leaders,” said Kitts. “I hope to bring to light the means in which the faith community can open discussions about addressing domestic violence.”

Joining Kitts will be Kermit McManus, former district attorney for the Conasauga Judicial Circuit. In 1997, a year after being appointed district attorney, McManus received a grant to create one of the first Domestic Violence Units in a prosecutor’s office in the state of Georgia. McManus will deliver an address on “The Domestic Violence Investigation: Key to Successful Prosecution or Unwitting Sabotage of the Case” in a morning breakout session.

Other sessions include addressing domestic violence in divorcing couples and exploitation of adults with disabilities in Georgia.

Continuing education units are available for licensed social workers, professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, police officers and attorneys.

Cost of the daylong conference is $40 (includes lunch) for those who register by Tuesday, Oct. 22; after that date, it will be $50 and will not include lunch. For registration information or to register, go to http://dvconference2013.eventbrite.com/.

Those with questions are invited to call (706) 272-2258, ext. 2153, or send an email to cfvaconference@gmail.com.