Department of Family Services – Domestic and Sexual Violence Services

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
703-324-5730 TTY 711
12011 Government Center Parkway, Pennino Building, Floor 7, Suite 740
Fairfax, VA 22035
Toni Zollicoffer

The Domestic and Sexual Violence Community Awards Helped Kickoff DVAM

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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

On Friday, Oct. 6, 2023, the Department of Family Services and Domestic and Sexual Violence Services hosted the Domestic and Sexual Violence Community’s Annual Meeting at the Fairfax County Government Center. It was the first in-person meeting since 2019. The community celebrated its achievements over the past year; paused to recharge for the work to come; and raised its collective voice to end domestic and sexual violence. The ceremony included a networking breakfast, a Girls on the Run Wellness Workshop, words of encouragement from Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court Judge Gayl Carr and Rebecca Thomforde Hauser of the Center for Justice Innovation, and the Domestic and Sexual Violence Community Awards. 

The Potluck Metaphor
About twice year, Domestic and Sexual Violence Services gathers in person for an all-staff meeting. We don’t cater these meetings or do the “lunch on your own” thing; DSVS is serious about our potlucks. At our last potluck, for instance, Tammy brought beef dumplings. Debra brought empanadas. Chi Sook contributed Japchae, and Ana donated lumpia. Chris brought masala and Soo Jin made tofu sushi. Abby provided the baked mac and cheese and Ayaan contributed kale salad. Renee brought a fruit bowl and Kelly made vegan quinoa and black beans. The Brazilian strawberry pie came from Andrea and Angela brought her mom’s jollof rice.  

One look at our potlucks and you will know DSVS is truly a diverse team.  

And here’s what I’ve learned over the years from attending and contributing to potlucks that I believe speaks to the essence of this year’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Awareness Meeting theme Every person. Every voice

  • A great potluck has a bit of a structure. Someone creates a list with broad categories of what’s needed, and participants decide they will bring something in a particular category, but nothing is overly prescriptive. You decide which category you are going to contribute to, and you sign up to bring something in that category.
  • There’s no judgment. If you don’t have a lot of money, you may decide to bring napkins. Maybe that’s because that’s what you have at home and you can’t afford to buy anything. Your napkins are appreciated because every potluck needs napkins. You don’t stand out because you can only contribute napkins.
  • There is something for everyone. Whether you have dietary restrictions or not, at a great potluck everyone can find something they can eat.
  • And a great potluck is a true cultural experience. People bring the dish that represents their cultural perspectives of what is fit to serve to someone else.   

When I think about Every person. Every voice., I think about what we can become if every single person in our communities was able to bring their figurative authentic dish full of resilience, culture, strength, and autonomy to add to professionals’ dishes of resources, experience, compassion, and cultural humility.

That’s what we strive for. That is a beautiful spread indeed. –Toni Zollicoffer, DSVS division director


The Hope Tree
Attendees placed thumbprints, leaves, and stars on the Hope Tree to celebrate the past year’s achievements and to manifest energy for the work to come in 2024.


2023 Domestic and Sexual Violence Community Award Winners

  • Service Professional: Elly Wu, Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project
  • Team Excellence: Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court Intake Team
  • Vanguard Award: Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court Judge Gayl Carr


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