The City of Dallas Domestic Violence Taskforce was created in 1987 a result of a class action lawsuit against the City of Dallas. The suit alleged that police denied women equal protection under the law because of an unofficial policy for officers to not intervene or make arrests in family violence cases. The out-of-court settlement agreement directed that the Public Safety Committee create a Domestic Violence Taskforce within 90 days of the consent decree to investigate and monitor the City's response to domestic violence for two years. The decree mandated that the Taskforce be made up of representatives from family violence advocacy organizations, including Family Place, Genesis Women's Shelter and New Beginnings, and the Dallas Police Department. The Taskforce was to meet quarterly to review and evaluate training materials and programs as it related to the enforcement of family violence law and prevention.
Although the Taskforce was instructed to meet for only two years, the group realized the importance of coordinating their efforts to help victims of domestic violence. Strong and trustful working relationships were formed as the group continued to work together. The Domestic Violence Taskforce has been meeting since 1986 and continues to meet to this day.
The Domestic Violence Taskforce has had several leaders including former Councilmembers Lori Palmer, Sandy Greyson, Pauline Medrano, Dr. Elba Garcia, Delia Jasso, Tiffinni Young and current chair Councilmember Jennifer Gates. The objectives and initiatives of the Taskforce have changed over the years with the needs of the community. In the past the Domestic Violence Taskforce has led the charge to begin taping all 9-1-1 calls, to help determine what domestic violence resource information to include on the blue resource cards police officers hand out to citizens, and to recommend to City Council that October be designated as Domestic Violence Awareness month.
In 2013, Mayor Mike Rawlings joined the campaign against domestic violence after the tragic death of Karen Cox Smith and the jarring circumstances surrounding her death. Mayor Rawlings launched his Men Against Abuse Campaign in March 2013 during a successful rally. At the same time, he appointed Councilmember Jennifer Gates to chair the Domestic Violence Taskforce and charged her to take an active role to investigate the domestic violence response in Dallas.