One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
More than ten years ago, I was among those concerned by the patchwork way that domestic violence was addressed in Contra Costa County. Many groups were working hard on the issue, including law enforcement, the courts, health and social service agencies and victim services organizations.
But these efforts were generally not coordinated. Consequently, we were missing opportunities to more effectively address domestic violence.
In response, my colleagues and I on the County Board of Supervisors declared, in 2000, that our county would have "zero tolerance for domestic violence," launching and funding a multi-agency system improvement effort to combat this serious problem.
Today, our County's Zero Tolerance for Domestic Violence Initiative is a model of the strength of partnership -- bringing together county health and social service agencies, law enforcement, school districts, the courts, and community non-profits in a coordinated fashion to provide truly comprehensive prevention and support services.
Authorized by the State Legislature as the first Zero Tolerance County in California, our efforts are being replicated by communities around the country as an effective strategy for a complex community problem.
I am proud of the initiative's continued hard work and effectiveness, and honored to be one of its founders.
In furthering the work of Zero Tolerance, I'm working with other public and non-profit partners to develop the West County Family Justice Center in Richmond - a one-stop multi-service center for victims of domestic and other types of violence.
Take a look at this great video made in honor of the Zero Tolerance Initiative's tenth anniversary.
And here's an informational "Ten-Year Retrospective Report" on the initiative.
Congratulations to everyone involved in this groundbreaking effort.