Friday, September 28, 2018

Dear Supporters,

Last year was a stellar year in the history of Center for Domestic Peace.  As part our 40th anniversary celebration and activities, we created an inspiring video, Journey, which documents the milestones, rich history, and people who have worked towards ending domestic violence in Marin and beyond. It was featured at our anniversary party at Terrapin Crossroads with more than 200 of our supporters in attendance. We invite you to watch it if you have not already. It’s on our homepage:

With 40 years of progress behind us, we are committed to making even greater strides in the years to come. We are proud of our expanded capacity
(50% increase), both in shelter beds through the House that Love Built campaign, and in our programs and outreach capacities.

As you read this edition of PeaceWatch, you will learn about our increased efforts to actively include all people in their search for help through our focus on accessibility enhancements, outreach to the LGBTQ community, mobile services for geographically isolated parts of the county, and engaging more young people from schools throughout Marin.

In spite of the many advances being made to end domestic violence and youth dating abuse – and the abundance and generosity in our community – we experienced a decline in support from individuals and family foundations this last fiscal year for the first time since the recession. We are deeply grateful to the donors who stepped up to help us close the gap by June 30th.

So, as you look to your philanthropy goals for this year, please remember that your financial support is an act of generosity and compassion for the women, children, and men who benefit from our services. We are grateful to each and every one of you who is able to support our work by making a contribution. Click here to donate now!

As Winston S. Churchill famously said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

Natasha Singh and Cynthia Murray 

C4DP Board Co-Chairs


C4DP’s Commitment to Accessibility

Marin County is idyllic, with its rolling green hills, beautiful streams, and open space. It is home to more than 250,000 people and the Bay Area’s oldest population base. What is also true is that almost 21% of all our households have a member with a disability. Whether it be a physical disability, learning disability, or even a language barrier, individuals with disabilities and with special access and functional needs experience violence and abuse at much higher rates: they are 40% more likely to be victims of domestic violence.

C4DP’s journey forward to create an inclusive, accessible organization has been a long one.  It started early with a commitment to bilingual staff, and then in 1987 with the development of a separate Spanish language-specific hotline and now bilingual capacity in all C4DP service areas, as well as a dedicated teletypewrite (TTY) line for deaf, hard of hearing, or speech-impaired individuals.  

Since the early 2000s, it has been a priority to enhance our facilities to be more physically accommodating.  We obtained 11 units of accessible transitional housing in Novato, followed by an upgrade and refurbish at the shelter to include an American Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant bedroom, bathroom and kitchen in 2010. With the momentum of the House that Love Built campaign – which upgraded not only the shelter, but also the cottage, and created a new studio for the advocate staff – C4DP moved to the next phase in our commitment to increase accessibility throughout the organization. In 2017, a grant from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services was secured that has now resulted in:

  • Addition of an elevator to the administrative building on A Street.
  • Upgrades of the bathroom in the refurbished cottage to increase accessibility. 
  • Upgrades of all signage at the shelter to be in Braille.
Another area of significant focus of the grant is helping C4DP increase our capacity to serve survivors with cognitive and mental impairments and language barriers through our website as a vital resource, as well as several outreach materials in alternative formats. We printed our You are Not Alone brochure – a very important and robust tool for resources and help for survivors – in Vietnamese, Portuguese, and Braille. We also converted the audio file of this brochure into a digital format and produced 500 USB drives to distribute at community events and trainings.

And lastly, our new ADA-compliant website will launch this fall. This mammoth endeavor included researching best practices around documented challenges people have using websites so that we could better reach survivors and our community who come to us for help.  We built the new website on a more responsive platform, which is easier to access on mobile devices and different browsers, created obvious calls to action, easier navigation, simpler language, and more. We considered spacing, images, logic and new technology all through the lens of ADA sensitivity. We are putting the final touches on it, so visit us later in the year at

As we look to the next 40 years, we embrace our ever-expanding capacity to serve our community and remain at the forefront of ending domestic violence, now and forever. For all of you who have stood by us, invested in us, used our services, and collaborated with us, we are deeply grateful. You make it possible for us to continue enhancing services to all our communities, especially those made more vulnerable to domestic violence because of accessibility challenges or disabilities.

Voces and LGBTQ Communities

Although there are an estimated 9 million LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) adults in the US (approx. 3.5% of the adult population), LGBTQ communities are often overlooked in domestic violence research and underrepresented in services, prevention, and intervention. Research surrounding domestic violence rates and other statistics frequently ignore same-sex relationships.  Additionally, many systems that have been created to help survivors of domestic violence have a complex history of inadequately serving LGBTQ communities. Survivors of domestic violence are already aware of potential stereotypes and stigma, which are only exacerbated for survivors within LGBTQ communities.

Survivors of domestic violence and LGBTQ communities also are impacted by internalized oppression and isolation. This internalized oppression can prevent survivors from seeking help and resources, which can keep them in an abusive situation longer. Isolation used by abusers to restrict victims from accessing resources is often magnified within LGBTQ communities. Further isolation can result from the absence of a support system after coming out to family and friends. Abusers can use this isolation to keep victims in the relationship longer.  

Center for Domestic Peace (C4DP) has increased its outreach efforts to LGBTQ communities in order to highlight resources and assistance that is readily available.  C4DP’s Spanish-speaking community organizing group of DV survivors, Voces de Cambio, has set a goal of expanding its reach to become more involved in LGBTQ communities.  A key goal of Voces is to inform survivors of their rights, with an emphasis on reaching underserved communities. To increase their awareness and sensitivity to LGBTQ populations, Voces participated in two different webinars presented by the Northwest Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse. During Pride Month, Voces participated in the Marin Pride Picnic, coordinated by the Spahr Center, to show the community that C4DP is a strong ally and offers services to all survivors.  

As a result of experience gained through the webinars and direct engagement with LGBTQ communities, Voces has acknowledged that homophobia toward LGBTQ communities of color is very entrenched. They set the goal to help Latino LGBTQ members open up to their families and communities members.  At the same time, Voces is working to build the capacity of straight Latinos to trust and accept their LGBTQ family and community members. Voces is excited to help another marginalized community that is often neglected. To learn more about Voces, please visit our website at

Children, Youth and Community Prevention Division-

Planting the Seeds of Change

The Children, Youth and Community Prevention (CYCP) division team conducts essential work for Center for Domestic Peace (C4DP). Meghan Kehoe (Division Manager), Angela Weikel (Prevention Supervisor/Bilingual Case Manager), and Laurel Freeman (Prevention Specialist) spearhead dynamic programming that benefits children, youth, and young adults and builds strong ties within our community. 

As part of the CYCP division, Meghan and Angela manage the Trauma Therapy Program, which includes In This Together (ITT), a weekly, multi-family, group setting that helps break the isolation survivors and their children who witness domestic violence experience.  Last year, ITT served approximately 70 families with 100 children.

Under their leadership, Meghan and Angela have expanded their case management capacity to include a mobile therapy clinic, which provides remote counseling services around the county, individual and family therapy, and most recently, two new drop-in support groups. All services are offered in Spanish and English and are facilitated by trained clinicians and domestic violence counselors.

The CYCP team also engages youth through the Marin Against Youth Abuse (MAYA) committee, made up of high school students from around the county. MAYA members meet regularly to conduct campaigns for key times during the year, such as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month in February.  They are also trained as peer resources for healthy relationships and conduct presentations in Marin County schools. In addition, the CYCP team engages interns from Dominican University and College of Marin to contribute to countywide prevention efforts.

The CYCP staff also manage Marin Youth Services (MYS) in collaboration with Huckleberry Youth Programs. MYS offers a teen text line that provides advice and referrals, and a youth advocate is stationed onsite at Huckleberry’s Teen Tuesday health clinics in San Rafael.

Meet Our Leaders! 

Meghan Kehoe, Division Manager. Before coming to Marin, Meghan was the director of a domestic violence and sexual assault nonprofit agency in Merced, California, and supervised the Victim Witness Services Division for the Mariposa County District Attorney’s Office. Meghan has worked with many high school and college campuses to address domestic violence and sexual assault and implement prevention programs, including Gonzaga University, UC Merced, Merced College, Dominican University, and College of Marin. With a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management, she is fueled by a passion for providing hope and a brighter future for the next generation.

Angela Weikel, Case Manager and Prevention Supervisor. Before arriving at C4DP, Angela worked as a counselor at Seneca Family of Agencies, supporting youth in foster care and families in crisis. She has also taught high school and college Spanish classes. She holds a master's degree from Stanford in literature. Her great passion is bringing healing to people who have been through traumatic experiences, helping survivors and their children strengthen their relationships so they can know themselves as peaceful, whole, and safe.

Laurel Freeman, Prevention Specialist. Before landing at C4DP, Laurel previously held positions working with youth at Homeward Bound and The SAGE Project and was the director of a safe house for young women escaping sexual exploitation and violence. She has spent her career assisting survivors of dating abuse, domestic violence, and sex trafficking. She is currently working toward a Master of Social Work at the University of Southern California. She believes that empowering youth to become peer prevention advocates and activists in their community is the most effective way to end teen dating abuse.

To contact anyone in this division, please call our main line at 415.457.2464.

Donna Garske to Be Honored at International Association of Sufism’s Annual Inspiration Dinner

Friday, November 2, 2018 7:00 pm
Embassy Suites, 101 McInnis Pkwy, San Rafael, CA

Donna Garske, C4DP’s Executive Director, will be celebrated at the International Association of Sufism’s Annual Inspiration Dinner.  The dinner honors individuals in the Bay Area who have made a significant impact on the well-being of humanity. Throughout her 40+ years as a pioneer in the movement to end violence against women, Donna has cultivated peace through hands-on work and constructive dialog around challenging social issues.

Donna GarskeWhen Donna started her career in Oregon as an activist in the criminal justice reform movement, she would be the first to tell you she didn’t have a grand scheme for what she wanted to accomplish in the long run. What she did have was intellectual curiosity, passion to change society, and the grit and determination to challenge systems and norms – traits nurtured from her roots as the granddaughter of farmers and her experience as a second generation immigrant. Seeing the impact domestic violence (DV) had on so many of the women within the criminal justice system led Donna to Marin Abused Women’s Services (MAWS, now C4DP), where she became the Executive Director shortly thereafter.

Donna’s vision for a world of justice and non-violence has been a guiding force and inspiration in C4DP’s advancement. Her role as a thought leader and innovator led to the development of an internationally-replicated education program for batterers and one of the nation’s first transitional housing programs for DV survivors. In concert with C4DP’s talented staff, Donna’s leadership has nurtured the continued advancement of C4DP’s direct services, programs, and facilities that have helped over 200,000 individuals locally. Her advocacy efforts have influenced multiple pieces of legislation, including the federal Violence Against Women Act; she also co-wrote a California law that establishes requirements for batterers’ programs. 

Donna has organized and championed collaborative efforts with others in the field to transform individuals’ lives from violence to freedom. She assisted with the development of Europe’s first batterers’ program; she also worked with the Network of East-West Women to address violence against women in Eastern/Central Europe and the former Soviet Union.  In 2010, she convened 19 executive directors of shelter-based DV programs from the nine Bay Area counties to determine how to have a larger regional impact, which led to the formation of the Bay Area DV Shelter Collaboration.

As founder of the Transforming Communities branch of C4DP, Donna led some of the earliest DV prevention efforts in the nation.  Under Transforming Communities: Training and Technical Assistance Center, she trained over 5,000 individuals and provided in-depth technical assistance to 265 organizations nationwide.  The Gimble Foundation selected Donna as a national violence prevention scholar; in 1997, Donna was inducted into the Marin Women’s Hall of Fame for her contributions to social change in Marin and beyond.

Through all of this, Donna’s contributions have embodied the highest values of humanity. Donna’s unique spirit, laughter, compassion and heart have fueled the community of C4DP, Marin, and beyond to believe that change is possible, and that just maybe one day, organizations like C4DP will no longer be needed. 

Congratulations Donna! 

Planned Giving – Leaving your Living Legacy

Center for Domestic Peace is a robust resource in the community, thanks in large part to our donors. Our 41 strong years have been supported by the generosity of community members like you. Monthly donations, in-kind gifts, and other donations make the operations of our staff, buildings, and programs feasible. Yet, there are more ways to help with our longevity and sustainability. Planned giving is a way to continue your legacy of support for C4DP. This type of giving refers to charitable gifts and monetary donations that require planning. One of the benefits of planned giving, and why it is becoming increasingly popular, is the valuable tax benefits available.
There are five different ways to give and many benefits to supporting C4DP for decades to come. With planned giving, you can avoid capital gains tax, increase current income for yourself or others, and pass assets on to your family at reduced tax costs.

1.    Retirement plans (IRA, 401CK, 403(b), Keogh, etc.) can make C4DP the beneficiary upon your passing. It can be all or a chosen portion of the unused balance in the account, which will then be transferred in your memory to C4DP as a charitable gift. Retirement plans are among the best assets to use because of the high tax (50-60%) that a family member might incur. 

2.    Life insurance policies allow you to name an organization as owner/beneficiary of a policy, providing an income tax deduction and possible estate tax benefits. 

3.    Bank accounts and securities/certificates of deposit can be set up through what are known as P.O.D. (Pay on Death) or T.O.D. (Transfer on Death) instructions. These accounts can be made so the remaining balance becomes a charitable gift. 

4.    Naming C4DP in your will as a beneficiary ensures your support of our continuing work. You can also make specific bequests in your will of monetary value or other charitable gifts, such as personal property or real estate. 

5.    Charitable trusts should be discussed with a financial advisor, as there are several types to be explored, based on your financial ability and wishes.

There are many options and levels you can choose to ensure support for C4DP continues. This type of support is incredibly important for Center for Domestic Peace’s longevity and success. For more details, please visit our website,, or contact Marla Hedlund, Development and Community Relations Officer, 415.526.2543.

What Would You Do?

Blue Shield of California Foundation sponsored a survey of adult Californians to understand their views on sexism, inequality, and domestic violence. Completed last fall, the survey also looked at actions Californians are willing to take when faced with domestic violence in their own lives, as well as broader political actions they might take on this issue. The entire survey can be found on their 

Key findings from this report include:
•    Californians see domestic violence as a serious, widespread problem.
•    Most Californians are personally touched by domestic violence.
•    The best reason to take political action is because domestic violence often leads to murder.
•    Lack of knowledge about the issue and how to act are barriers to action.

To the last point, nearly half reported they want more information before acting to address domestic violence and the best ways to help a victim. Based on this report, we are offering some ideas to help navigate taking action. To ensure we represent authentic voices, we conducted focus groups with survivors from our In This Together therapy program, as well as men from ManKind.

Scenario One

Your friend has expressed fear about their relationship, or you have witnessed controlling behavior and are concerned for someone you know. 

What you can do:
1.    Learn the warning signs of an unhealthy relationship so you are educated about the issue. You can find these on the C4DP website.
2.    Don’t blame or make your friend feel guilty. Domestic violence is complicated, and many stay in relationships that are unhealthy for a variety of reasons. So lend an ear or shoulder, and let them know you are a safe person they can reach out to.
3.    Let the individual know that without intervention, abuse often escalates in frequency and severity over time. Encourage them to seek expert assistance. Refer them to specialized domestic violence programs like C4DP’s, not to couples counseling.
4.    If you would like to talk to a trained advocate about your friend, call one of our 24-hour hotlines. English: 415.924.6616/ Spanish: 415.924.3456

Scenario Two

You hear commotion at your neighbors’ place. It’s loud. It’s scary. It seems like someone is getting hurt.

What you can do:
If you are aware that an abusive partner has a history of violence, is aggressive, or you have any other concerns for your well-being, do not intervene. You always have the option of making an anonymous 911 call.

Other things you might consider doing:

1.    Speak with the person you believe is at risk, in person, the next day or soon thereafter. You might greet that person with a question like, “Hey, I heard some noises that concerned me last night. Are you okay?”

  •  Be sure to approach the person in a safe, private space, listen to them carefully, and believe what they have to say.
  • Never blame the person or ask what they did to “provoke” their partner.
  •  Let them know that if abuse is occurring, it isn’t their fault, and they deserve support and protection.
2.    You might give them C4DP’s contact information. 24-hour hotlines English: 415.924.6616/ Spanish: 415.924.3456.
3.    If you are ever concerned for the individual’s immediate safety (or your own), you have the right to contact the police. You can request a wellness check anonymously.
4.    If the survivor decides to press charges against the abusive partner, your statement can be one way to help them document what they’ve experienced.

Scenario Three

You are out in public, maybe at a park or restaurant, and you witness a person being abused or attacked. Should you get involved?

What you can do:
1. Call the police.
2. If you are in a place of business, approach the manager, notify them of the situation, and ask them to call the police.
3. You can use your phone to video record the abuse so there is documentation available from a third-party witness to provide to authorities as evidence.
4. If others are around, and you think it is safe to do so, do something radical – like shout “STOP,” “WE SEE YOU,” “NO VIOLENCE!”

Scenario Four
You witness your friend or relative saying controlling or abusive words to their partner. Perhaps they are threatening or intimidating them.

What you can do:
1.    Confront them privately, or if it’s okay to do so, say something in the moment to interrupt the behavior, such as:

  •  “I was uncomfortable in the way you were talking to (name)... It seemed like you were making them feel uncomfortable. Were you aware this was happening?”
  •  “Hey, let’s stop for a moment. I’m feeling uncomfortable with what is happening here. I want to make sure everyone here at this gathering is treated with respect and is comfortable, so let’s change it up.”
  • In addition to the above, if there is an opportunity, share with them available resource information, such as the ManKind program.  415.924.1070 
2.    Check in with their partner, and ask if they are okay.

Domestic violence is a complicated issue, and a person’s safety is paramount. Before you act on any of these scenarios, always remember to first keep yourself safe.  If you have any questions, our advocates are ready and available to coach you through any scenario you may witness.