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Conference to train LEOs who help female crime victims kicks off

By Jana Wallis
The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS — Seeking to create better support for women who have been victims of violent crimes, law enforcement agencies and women's advocacy groups kicked off the third annual Crimes Against Women Conference on Monday.

The Dallas conference encompasses all areas of crimes against women, including domestic violence, sexual assault, acquaintance rape and human trafficking.

The three-day event provides training for law enforcement officials, prosecutors and those who work with crime victims. Workshops range from witness tampering and trauma impact to specific case studies.

"We want to put an emphasis on the violence, not just the women. This is a unique conference that deals with all the issues," said Jan Langbein, executive director for Genesis Women's Shelter, which is based in Dallas and a co-sponsor of the event.

Some of the scheduled speakers include John W. Gillis, director of the Office for Victims of Crime in the U.S. Department of Justice. Boulder detective Chuck Heidel was to present a case on actor Bradford Thomas Wagner who was accused of raping women in Texas and Colorado in the '90s.

During a news conference Monday, Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle spoke about the importance of strong partnerships between police and organizations created specifically for dealing with victims and their families.

"This is not a law enforcement problem alone," he said.

Assistant Special Agent Blaise Mikulewicz of the FBI emphasized the federal resources available to local police departments.

"We want to provide the most assistance we can," Mr. Mikulewicz said. The FBI can help local police agencies identify suspects who may have also committed similar crimes in other states.

Over 550 attendees from 41 states and four countries (Mexico, Canada, Ireland and Liberia) were registered for the event, which is also co-sponsored by the Dallas Police Department.

Copyright 2008 The Dallas Morning News

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