Aquila Structure

Steering Committee Group: Chaired by Jeffrie Cape,

Administration Group: Chaired by Ted German,

Communication Group: Chaired by Bob Agnoli,

Outreach Group: Chaired by Graham Barnes,

Research Group: Chaired by Etiony Aldarondo,

Diversity Inclusive Committee Group: Chaired by Dr. Oliver Williams,

Women Who Use Force Committee Group: Chaired by Susan Cayoutte,


It is wonderful to see that the AQUILA group has grown to over 200 people as of May 2015 (update: 450 as of July 2018). This is reflective of the commitment of the people who work in the field of addressing intimate partner violence and demonstrates a desire to connect and learn from each other. This thread is to share the history that brought about AQUILA and make sure everyone is aware of AQUILA’s recent growth and expansion.

In 1995 BISC-MI hosted the Roots to Wings conference which brought together people from all over the country to learn about intimate partner violence and the ways to address it. As part of that conference BISC-MI thought it would be great to utilize the expertise of participants and faculty to define the issue of success. Several national researchers worked to develop discussion questions and there were multiple small group discussions, outside of the regular conference agenda to give this task form and function. There was lots of enthusiastic participation and many debates. The end result was there was no consensus on what success was and how to prove it. We were left with our unsatisfactory definition of.  “If he never ever does another abusive thing to anyone in his life and it can be proved”.  It did lead to new relationships and ongoing informal discussions.

In 2008 BISC-MI hosted: Shifting the Paradigm: Strategies for Addressing Batterers as Fathers Conference and decided to take on the issue of success from a different perspective. Having people in the field define success in realistic terms and work from there. A group of people from around the country gathered during free time at the conference to meet and strategize and form of a plan. That group had many email interactions and many were able to meet again in spring 2009 when Minnesota hosted a national conference.

In order to create a way to communicate and share information an email group was formed using the name the group had chosen to go by, AQUILA. Which is both an acronym and a metaphor. AQUILA is the golden eagle which is known for flying higher so that it can see the bigger picture (also was a scout for Zeus in Greek mythology). Its acronym is Acquiring Qualitative Understanding of Intervention Leading to Advocacy.    As soon as it was launched people began suggesting other people who wanted to participate and the group evolved into a forum for people to seek and share information.

Due to the national economic changes in that time period organizations did not have the ability to have personnel commit to non-revenue generating projects and individuals found that they had to less time to devote to the concept and the group. Informal conversations continued and the AQUILA forum continued to grow. Many of the political and practical concerns that programs were facing were identified and discussed.

In spring 2014 Ed Gondolf contacted a few people from around the country who were working with men who have abused their partners and expressed a need for a formal voice to be created to speak to the value of programs. A small group had weekly phone conference calls for the entire summer labeling the endeavor the ‘Conceptual Clarity project’ CCP. During those calls there was a strong feeling that a group of people needed to be able to come together to work on this. Many people and organizations from a variety of disciplines around the country were contacted and a group came together in Ann Arbor, Michigan in September 2014.

That group came together without any financial support each individual finding their own funds to get to the meeting. BISC-MI, Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County, ADA Program, Charron Services LLC, Emerge and the Battered Women’s Justice Project provided nominal funds to help defray the cost of meals, materials and meeting space for the group. The group worked intensively for 2 days to identify barriers, create priorities and develop work groups. Avenues to move this effort under the umbrella of another established national organization were explored both before and after the September meeting. As time went on it became apparent that there was need to develop a new organization.

In exploring names we realized we already had a name that perfectly described what we wanted to do…AQUILA.

In April 2015 BISC-MI hosted; Advancing the Narrative Inspiring the Future and AQUILA rising was unveiled.

Conference participants were provided with information about AQUILA’s history and the CCP efforts. Options were identified as to how they could participate and there was a forum for exchanging ideas. Two new committees came from those meetings.

This post is to provide all of you with that information. Some people want information only and we will provide that to everyone in this group by posting. You do not need to do anything to stay in that category. AQUILA now has several committees which meet monthly by phone. Meetings are scheduled for 2 hours but may last less time depending on agenda. All committees coordinate their efforts through the steering committee.

The committees are:
Administrative: Focusing on creating organizational structure, mission and membership criteria
Research: Focusing on understanding what current research is actually saying, exploring strengths and limitations of research building partnerships between researchers and practitioners
Diversity Inclusion: Focusing on increasing the voice from underrepresented populations and ensuring cultural awareness in decisions.
Women Who Use Force: Focusing on identifying and promoting the appropriate strategies for intervening women who use force.
Outreach: Focusing on identifying and making connections with as many intervention programs around the country as possible.
Communications: Focusing on creating communication messages and alliances with organizations around the country. Developing materials for programs and individuals to use to address challenges from those in their communities who do not understand or see value in intervention programming.  Exploring options for utilizing different forms of social media to communicate messages and build momentum.
If you wish to be involved in one of these committees you can send a message to or contact me directly at
Looking forward to continuing to work with and hear from all of you.
May Our Combined Efforts Create Safety for Families.
Jeff Cape
Chair AQUILA Steering Committee