DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Today is the first day of a three-day international conference focusing on violence and women. The 8th Annual Conference on Crimes Against Women is underway in Dallas.

Federal, state, and local law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and victim advocates have gathered to educate themselves on ways to improve how crimes against women are investigated and prosecuted.

National conference director Becky Park said every step involved in investigating, capturing and prosecuting people who commit crimes against women will be covered. There are a vast array of topics covering stalking, gang violence, and prostitution. Park said the this years conference, “Runs the gamut of human trafficking, sexual assault, strangulation, and of course a big part of it is domestic violence.”

According to statistics, everyday in America three women will die at the hands of a boyfriend, husband, or ex-husband. Dealing with those homicides, in addition to cases where the victim survives, takes a tremendous effort. Park said access to training and resources is key. “Give the tools that these guys need to put the bad guys in jail for a really long time.”

Park thinks advocates are making progress, but she admits being frustrated by the number of unreported crimes. “You do hear about those cases where nothing happens or it’s the minimum sentence [for offenders], so we’re really trying to empower people and educate.”

Park applauds the initiative by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings to make abuse of women a top issue and focus on holding all men responsible when they know about violence against women but say nothing. “Your golf buddy goes home and does something to his wife, you need to let him know that it’s not alright to do that and you’re not gonna hang out.”

While there is still a lot of work to be done Park believes there has been significant progress made in addressing the problem of crimes against women. “If you look at how this was five or 10 years ago, we weren’t talking about this. We are talking about it now,” she said. “It is on everybody’s radar.”

The keynote speaker at this year’s conference is Monika Korra, a recent Southern Methodist University graduate who in 2009 was abducted and raped by three men in Dallas. Korra was an integral part of the criminal cases against her attackers and from that point forward set out on a mission to kill the silence surrounding rape.

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