WARREN - Su-Qin Olmstead said that if one wants to change a batterer's behavior, one has to understand how that person thinks.
Olmstead, a chemical dependency counselor with Community Solutions Association, admitted she's not always comfortable hearing the reasons a batterer cites for abusing a partner.
"But it's necessary (to ask)," she said.
On Friday, Olmstead was one of the speakers at the Trumbull County Domestic Violence Task Force Roundtable Discussion, "Trumbull County's Response to Domestic Violence Through Intervention with the Batterer." Dozens of people gathered at the Trumbull Metropolitan Housing Authority office in Warren.
Olmstead stressed the importance of helping the batterer in an effort to have greater success helping the victim.
"We have to put our personal anger and bias aside if we're going to help them," she said.
Olmstead reviewed reasons batterers give for abusing.
The discussion also explored why victims stay in an abusive relationship; the role of mental health, drug / alcohol and marital counsel in domestic violence, when anger management is appropriate and how intervention works. The program included an open discussion and a question / answer period.
The task force recently observed its 18th anniversary and Friday's event was its second roundtable. The first one was held in March.
Marjorie Dangaran of the Trumbull County Medical Society Alliance, who opened the program by welcoming guests on behalf of the task force, said the task force intends to sponsor similar roundtable events annually, with the next one scheduled for October 2013.
Dangaran explained that one of the purposes of the task force is to make an effort to provide information about domestic violence and what steps are being taken within the community to enlighten and re-educate individuals who engage in abusive behavior.
"And to stress that life can and should be lived differently without the violence," she said. "So, maybe all of us working together can make a difference."