The Central Texas Family Violence Task Force will host its 5th annual conference this month to inform the public of local family violence issues and the resources available to combat it. 

The conference which will take place at the Harker Heights Activities Center at 400 Indian Trail in Harker Heights Thursday October 17 and Friday October 18. According to a press release issued Tuesday, the purpose of the conference is to create a community coordinated multi-disciplinary response to family violence.

October 17's all-day "Bridging the Gap" conference will feature two guest speakers: Nationally recognized “Post Traumatic Stress” expert Dr. Charles Hoge, MD, Colonel (Ret.) Us Army, author of “Once a Warrior, Always a Warrior", and Jan Langbein, executive director of Genesis Women’s Shelter in Dallas and co-founder of the Conference on Crimes Against Women. Speakers from local agencies and non-profit organizations that deal with both child abuse and domestic violence issues will also be included. Organizations represented will include the Children’s Advocacy Center of Central Texas, Bell/Lampasas Counties Community Supervision and Corrections Department,  Families in Crisis Inc., the Waco Abuse Center, the Bell County District Attorney’s Office and the Texas Council on Family Violence.

During October 18's morning conference, an expert panel will discuss a local domestic violence homicide case involving former Fort Hood soldier David Micheal Vega. Vega murdered his ex-girlfriend, Danielle Acosta-Guerrero, with a machete in August of 2012, also injuring her then 6-year-old son. Vega was sentenced to life imprisonment earlier this year.

Participants in the conference will also receive legislative updates from the Bell County Attorney’s Office and the Bell County District  Attorney’s Office, and continuing education credits will also be offered.

Those wishing to participate or seeking more information may contact the Harker Heights PD Healthy Homes Program Coordinator Kerry Ann Barronette by calling 254-953-5439 or emailing her at kbarronette@ci.harker-heights.tx.us.