This month the MCBA Nonprofit Profile features the Center for Domestic Peace or C4DP. This is especially good and right this month for two reasons: 1) October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month; and 2) C4DP celebrates its 40th anniversary, striving to transform the world to one where domestic violence no longer exists, creating greater safety, justice, and equality for all.

C4DP got its start in 1977 when it was then known as Marin Abused Women’s Services. The founding members had conducted an investigation of domestic violence in 1976 and found none of the Marin police departments had records of family violence, which the founders knew was not the case.

Within 10 years, the non-profit employed over 25 people, had an operating budget of nearly $2 million and served over 5000 women, children and men. By 2007, it had directly supported over 130,000 women and 28,000 men through its programs, with a budget of $3.2 million and staff of 45. In 2010, it changed its moniker to Center for Domestic Peace, to better reflect the depth and breadth of the organization as a whole. Today, C4DP, with its 45 employees and 100 volunteers, has responded to the needs of more than 181,000 individuals affected by domestic violence, as well as more than 29,000 men who have been violent.

Community Relations Officer Marla Hedlund explained C4DP has worked closely with law enforcement and members of the criminal and family law bars to develop and enhance protections for survivors as well as to enhance consequences for the abuser:

“What we have accomplished over the last 40 years to protect survivors and deter abusers is pretty remarkable. Forty years ago, a police officer would respond to a call, take the abuser outside for 10 to 15 minutes to ‘cool off,’ but then send him back inside and leave the scene. Little or nothing would be accomplished and the abuse would continue with no consequences for the abuser.

“Today, we train and provide support for law enforcement to better assess a potential domestic violence situation when they respond to a call, know how to identify the person actually being abused and which one is the abuser, and ensure everyone is safe before leaving the scene, or simply remove the identified abuser altogether. The criminal attorneys and the family law attorneys have become more involved working with us to address the legal issues surrounding emergency protective orders, restraining orders or child custody orders, all of which serves to also educate the abuser as to why his or her behavior is unacceptable.”

How can you help?

A fun way to help: attend C4DP’s 40th Anniversary Celebration at Terrapin Crossroads, San Rafael, on October 21, from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. Marin County’s District Attorney, Ed Berberian, will be one of the honorees celebrated that evening. Tickets are on sale now.
A more fulfilling way to help: give your time to assist with restraining orders or family law/child custody issues for domestic violence survivors who have no other option for legal representation. C4DP could also use assistance with UVisa, VAWA, and TVisa. To get involved, please contact:
Luz Alvarado, Legal Systems Advocacy Program Manager
Center for Domestic Peace
Email | 415.526.2549