Council Information

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Council Members

  • JUDGE Alan K. Cassidy, Chair, Superior Court Judge
  • CHERIE CLARK, Vice Chair, Sierra Vista
  • Juliann Carty, Vice Chair, Probation
  • DORIS FOSTER, Treasurer, Stanislaus County Chief Executive Office
  • REBECCA FLEMING, Superior Court Executive Director
  • SANDRA LUCAS, Family Court Services
  • Supervisor Condit, Board of Supervisors
  • Sheriff Jeff Dirkse, Stanislaus County Sheriff
  • BIRGIT FLADAGER, District Attorney
  • Jennifer Jennison, Public Defender
  • Mark Ferriera, Chief Probation Officer
  • Mary Ann Lily , Director, Health Services Agency
  • Tony Vartan, Director, Behavioral Health & Recovery
  • Brandon Gillespie, Chief, Modesto Police
  • Jason Hedden, Chief, Turlock Police
  • MAY RICO, Executive Director, Haven Women's Center
  • Jerry Ramar, Chief, Oakdale Police
  • Scott Kuykendall, Superintendent of Schools
  • STACY SPEILLER, Attorney, Stanislaus County Bar Association

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General Information

According to F.B.I. Crime Reports, a woman is beaten every 15 seconds in the United States. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States (more than rapes, mugging and auto accidents combined).

Up to 35% of women who visit emergency rooms are there for injuries related to ongoing abuse.

More than 50% of women killed in the United States are killed by intimate partners or ex-partners.

Approximately 50% of homeless women and children in the United States are on the street because of violence in the home.

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The Council

The Family and Domestic Violence Coordinating Council of Stanislaus County (the "Council"), is a working group of professionals and community members dedicated to fostering collaboration and creating effective services for couples and their families. The purpose of the Council is to facilitate and support collaboration and partnerships that build and sustain healthy families and communities. On August 29, 1995, the Board of Supervisors authorized the formation of the Council.

The Family and Domestic Violence Coordinating Council meets the third Thursday of each month from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The meetings are held at 10th Street Place, Third Floor - Conference Room 3001, 1010 10th Street, Modesto, CA.

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Mission Statement

The mission of the Council is to reduce incidents of domestic violence and abuse in Stanislaus County through:

1) Effective coordination between agencies, departments, existing services, and the courts, for individuals affected by domestic violence and abuse; and

2) Prevention, intervention and treatment techniques accomplished through education, research and data collection.

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1) Analyze ways in which agencies, departments, existing services, and the courts in Stanislaus County respond to domestic violence and abuse in order to improve that response.

2) Improve the cooperation and coordination among all who deal with domestic violence and abuse.

3) Make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors, agencies, departments, existing services, and the courts regarding improving the response to domestic violence and abuse.

4) Analyze legislation that relates to domestic violence and abuse, and disseminate to the members.

5) Encourage and promote public education regarding domestic violence and abuse.

6) Request from agencies, departments, existing services and the courts, information, services, facilities and other assistance for the purpose of furthering the mission of the Council.

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Department & Agency Summaries

The following summaries from some of the departments and agencies represented on the Council reflect the accomplishments and benefits of the Family and Domestic Violence Coordinating Council.

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Other Related Resources/Websites

The Greenbook

This publication is officially entitled: Effective Intervention in Domestic Violence & Child Maltreatment Cases: Guidelines for Policy and Practice, published by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. The website is described as a tool for collaborative domestic violence information.

Court Information

This website offers information on safety planning, hotlines, court forms and many other resources. It also offers information on restraining orders, resources for children and teens, including domestic violence and the criminal justice system. This website is maintained by the Judicial Council of California and is located at

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Community Services Agency

Since its inception, the Council has provided an arena for the involvement of public and private entities in the issues that emanate from domestic violence. How to recognize it, how to respond to it, how to stop it, how to treat it, how to prevent it and how to educate the public about domestic violence have been issues tackled by this multi-jurisdictional group.

The Council has been instrumental in developing a cohesive approach to a Child Death Review Team and an Adult Death Review Team. Through efforts of the Council, it is revitalizing the Child Death Review Team and will add a Death Review Team focusing on adult deaths involving domestic violence. Both of the review team processes will involve staff from Community Services Agency. The Health Services Agency's Health Officer will take the lead as the chair of the Death Review Teams. The implementation of these teams will provide a vehicle to examine the existing protocols for child death review and develop new protocols for reviewing adult deaths involving domestic violence issues.

The Council has taken the lead in heightening the awareness of the impact of domestic violence on children and families, and the community. This leadership effort, coupled with the mandates in Child Welfare and Welfare Reform, has put the impact that domestic violence has on the functioning of the family in the forefront of the welfare to work efforts and child protection efforts in our county. The Council has presented information to a variety of forums, including the Family Preservation Family Support (FPSP) committee, a subcommittee of the Children's Council. This committee comprises community collaborative representing all geographic areas of the county. The Council has also provided speakers for presentations to Eligibility Workers involved in Welfare Reform and Child Protective Social Workers.

Community Services Agency has benefited from the activities of the Council through collaboration, education and the development of policies and procedures. We are looking forward to another successful year.

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District Attorney's Office

The existence of the Council has proven to be a valuable forum for discussing and implementing positive changes in the way domestic violence is treated in Stanislaus County. It is the only forum where county law enforcement agencies, the courts, prosecutors, probation, social services, medical specialists and others can come together for the betterment of this community.

The District Attorney's Office has been able to change some of our policies concerning the way we deal with victims and the way we prosecute domestic violence cases as a result of the close working relationships fostered through the Council. We have participated in community forums on domestic violence, lectured at Stanislaus State University and implemented a court "Stay-away Order" for domestic violence cases. We anticipate updating the Stay-Away Order process through cooperation with the Courts and the Council. This is just a small sample of the changes brought about as a result of the aggressive, innovative and determined efforts of the members of the Council. We look forward to continued success.

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Health Services Agency

The following is a highlight of some of the accomplishments the Council has made:

Communication - The network and partnerships that have evolved during the implementation of the Council are difficult to measure. However, everyone will agree that the sharing of information has benefited all participating agencies. The Council serves as a problem resolution, information gathering network. In addition, the speakers that have presented to the group have enhanced everyone's understanding of the global issues involved with this community-wide problem.

The organized support of victims in the community has been aided through the information cards which are distributed to victims. The increased visibility of domestic violence has consolidated the support for victims.

Efficiencies - Others can express this in more detail but the collaboration of the participating agencies in streamlining and linking the information gathered, making this information available online is significant. I don't know if anyone has calculated the actual time and expense saved through these new procedures but I am certain it is would be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The utilization of one single reporting document for hospitals to utilize in performing evidentiary exams provides consistent service and data. The only other form that has been standardized to my knowledge is an "OB" form. Hats off to Nancy Oliva in her work on this project.

Data - Through the collaboration of all agencies, data is being collected in the same format, through the same processes which can be used to measure our success in dealing with domestic violence cases. Also, through grant funds, Modesto Police Department purchased new equipment to get visual evidence of the results of the violence on the person. Improved data will support more convictions and bring to the public the emphasis the county as a community has placed on preventing domestic violence.

The establishment of a unified death review process will increase the data to process all cases involving death in a more substantive manner. The inter-agency task force which worked on this is another example of the collaboration that has developed through the Council.

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Behavioral Health and Recovery Services

Participation on the Council and subcommittees has increased our Department's awareness of family and domestic violence as factors to be considered when individuals present with emotional problems or chemical dependency issues. Screening for family and domestic violence issues continues to be a routine part of the initial assessment of individuals who present at our Emergency Services Unit. It is also a risk factor that is specifically addressed for all applicants for routine behavioral health services. Our department provides training for staff on family and domestic violence issues. Identifying and developing workplace solutions to family and domestic violence is a major part of our departments mandated workplace violence training.

The Council also facilitates partnerships with other agencies and groups in our community, ensuring common goals in working with those affected by family and domestic violence. Two very important collaborative ventures are StanWORKS and the CAIRE Center.

StanWORKS provides supplemental, integrated, multi-disciplinary and family focused services to move TANF recipients with mental health, drug and alcohol or domestic violence related problems from dependency to employment and self-sufficiency.

The CAIRE Center is a multi-disciplinary interview center for children who have been victimized, focusing primarily on sexual abuse. This approach minimizes trauma caused by having the child tell his or her story numerous times. Partners include all law enforcement agencies, District Attorney, Victims Services, CSA, Public Health, DMC, Aspira, Haven, BHRS, Probation, Forensic Nurses Association, and Children's Crisis Center.

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Office of Education

The Council has been a valuable tool to help the Office of Education stay informed on the status of domestic violence in Stanislaus County. This forum has proven to be a fantastic place for information sharing and problem solving on current issues as they relate to domestic violence. Areas that have been especially useful have included new programs for victims and offenders, availability of grant monies to the County, statistical evaluation and development of new vehicles to transmit available services to the public.

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Probation Department

The Council has proven to be a valuable asset in developing and refining a full range of Domestic Violence services throughout the communities in Stanislaus County. The Council has become a community-wide collaborative that is successfully accomplishing its mission. From the perspective of the Probation Department, the Council continues to provide invaluable guidance and assistance in the oversight of Batterers' Programs and has proven to be an important ally in the department's efforts to enhance services to victims and improve the supervision of offenders. Through the Council, the Probation Department has established many partnerships throughout the community, which have improved services for all.

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Sheriff's Department

The involvement with the Council has been very positive. Representation throughout Stanislaus County from the disciplines associated with domestic violence issues has provided a great forum for the exchange of information. Input from each participant, regarding their own issues and perspectives on domestic violence, has truly helped in evaluating what we do and how we do it.

Presentations on new trends and technology in the area of domestic violence are brought to our meetings on a regular basis. Presentations like the one from the VINE Company are very informative. The service they provide notifies victims of inmate status throughout the justice system from arrest to where they are eventually housed in a correctional facility. Information continues to be available to the victim until the inmate is released. Current efforts to evaluate this system and the benefits to all involved in Stanislaus County are underway.

The sharing of information, research and evaluation of what other counties and jurisdictions are doing in the area of domestic violence are a part of many of our discussions. An example of this is our current research on the benefits of having a Child Death Review Team in Stanislaus County.

Examining what we are doing, and how we can do it better is always the underlying theme of the Council meetings. The Sheriff's role in domestic violence issues in Stanislaus County is vital. The Council is an important part of helping us accomplish our goals in best serving the citizens of Stanislaus County.

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Superior Court

The Superior Court has remained active on the Council and related activities, such as:

1) Leadership roles as Chair and Vice-chair by Judge Linda McFadden and Turlock Detective Douglas Ravaglioli, respectively.

2) Compilation and presentation of Domestic Violence Restraining Order and Emergency Protective Order statistics;

3) Participation in domestic violence efforts with agencies in Oakdale and Waterford; meeting with law enforcement officers to make sure language in Restraining Orders and Stay Away Orders is clear and enforceable;

4) Establishing a committee, with participation by the District Attorney and Public Defender, to investigate the possibility of creating a Family Law Department; and,

5) Development and implementation of an "Instant Order After Hearing" program whereby all Domestic Violence Restraining Orders would be processed, signed, given immediately to the parties and faxed to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

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Modesto Police Department

During the past four years, the Council has given the Modesto Police Department the opportunity to learn about the issues surrounding domestic violence from a more global perspective. Because the department is charged with enforcing the law, we tend to see domestic violence from that perspective only. We interrupt the violence, interview participants and witnesses, and then make an arrest ... our work is done, or so we thought.

What we have learned is that every incident of domestic violence touches many parts of our community and social systems. The efforts of the Council have demonstrated that, by working together, our community and social systems can make a difference. The Modesto Police Department is firmly committed to a zero tolerance of domestic violence. But instead of making arrests and thinking that our job is done, we have learned that many more tasks can be accomplished to set in motion the needed changes which must occur to prevent a recurrence of the violence. By getting authorization from victims, we now can direct the Haven advocate into homes to contact children who witness the violence. Medical practitioners now have a form upon which to report domestic violence incidents. Protective orders are now made electronically to speed the process. Notification of those protective orders is made automatically within the system. No longer do we depend on a victim, who is unfamiliar with the system, to deliver the restraining order to our agency. No longer do we depend on victims or officer memory and police reports to convince juries that the incident really happened; video tapes of victim statements have given clear and convincing evidence to further the intervention process.

These changes did not occur in a vacuum and are but a few of the changes which resulted from the collaboration of Council members. Statistics within the City of Modesto also show that we are making a headway. In 1995, four of 14 homicides were domestic violence related. In 1996, three of 13 homicides were domestic violence related. But in 1997, after we started the M.P.D. Domestic Violence Unit, and during the worst year ever for homicides in Modesto, none of the 19 homicides were domestic violence related. If the changes we made at M.P.D. assisted in saving lives, then the Coordinating Council may also take credit. Without understanding how each part of the system works, meaningful changes rarely occur.

We are proud to be represented in this organization and hope it will continue to improve the way we deal with domestic violence in our community.

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Turlock Police Department

Domestic violence is widespread in America often destroying relationships and families. In an effort to reduce incidents of domestic violence and abuse in Stanislaus County, the Turlock Police Department is honored to be an active member of the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council.

The Family and Domestic Violence Coordinating Council has a proven track record of developing programs and practices, which enhance the ability of service providers to handle domestic violence cases more effectively. Outcomes from the Council have helped the Turlock Police Department to modify and adjust our policies and practices as they relate to domestic violence calls for service. The Turlock Police Department has been better able to provide guidance and training to first responders. This has improved their success rate in working directly with those impacted by domestic violence.

Participation on the Council is consistent with the core values adopted by the Turlock Police Department.

Meaningfulness - Responsibility - Trust - Sensitivity - Teamwork.

We look forward to a continuing partnership with the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council as it endeavors to achieve its stated objectives.

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Ceres Police Department

The Ceres Police Department recognizes the value in working with all of the agencies in Stanislaus County in the effort to reduce the incidences of family and domestic violence in our community. This regional approach has proven to be a very effective strategy in helping victims, and potential victims, of these crimes through public education, information sharing and problem solving. The Ceres Police Department is committed to its participation and future support of this very important organization.

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California State University, Stanislaus - Sociology and Criminal Justice Department

The Council has had a profound and positive impact on the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, students, faculty and the university as a whole. Since the arrival of our current president, Dr. Marvalene Hughes, it has been the mission of the campus to create and maintain meaningful and positive partnerships with local governments and community organizations. During the initial formation of the Domestic Violence Task Force in 1994, Dr. Hughes received an invitation to participate from Judge Girolami, and she designated Dr. Cecil Rhodes as her representative.

Since becoming a charter member of first the Task Force and later the Council, Dr. Rhodes' involvement and the University's association therewith, has had a marked effect on the campus. Rather than continue with this form of narrative discourse, below are enumerated a few of the instances wherein the Council has played a vital role:

1. CSU Stanislaus' 2nd Annual Town Hall Community Forum on Crime, Law and Policy, which was presented free to the community. The highly successful May 1995 Town Hall theme was "Domestic Violence and Intimate Abuse: Painful Relationships." The theme was created because of the campus' association with the Council, and its success was directly attributed to the several members of the Council who served on the panel.

2. A new university course entitled "Domestic Violence and Intimate Abuse" was created and made a part of the Criminal Justice Program curriculum. This highly successful and popular course, now in its third year, has utilized members of the Council as guest speakers, and its creation is directly attributed to the campus' involvement and association with the Council.

3. As a direct result of Dr. Rhodes' association and membership on the Council, his position at CSUS, and his research in the area of domestic violence, he was invited, as one of 80 professors and other guests, to participate in the American Bar Association's Commission on College and University Legal Studies' National Conference on Families and the Law in Denver, Colorado. His attendance at the conference resulted in the publication of " Domestic Violence and Abuse: Creating and Learning from University/Community Partnerships ," which appeared in the American Bar Association's FOCUS on Law Studies, Volume XII, Number 1, Fall 1996. The article in FOCUS, which has a mailing circulation of over 5,000 colleges and universities nationally, focused directly on the Council.

4. Involvement and association with the Council plays a vital educational role by ensuring that our students are provided with the most current legal information on the status of domestic violence in California.

Although there are other direct and indirect influences on our programs emanating from the Council, those cited above will provide the reader and other interested parties with a brief overview of the important role and impact the Council has had on higher education in our area.

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Haven Women's Center

Haven Women's Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization consisting of a group of dedicated staff and volunteers who share their time by helping victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. While our name has changed over time, we have been providing services in Stanislaus County for over 30 years.

Haven Women’s Center is a catalyst for individual empowerment and societal change. Haven: Promotes safety and healing for women and children impacted by domestic or sexual violence; Dedicates itself to a non-judgmental, holistic, client centered approach through advocacy, education and supportive services; and Believes in honoring our heritage, and validating the feelings and experiences of the many lives touched by violence against women.

Haven provides direct services to survivors of domestic and sexual abuse, as well as community education programs. Haven’s direct services include: 24 hour crisis line, 24 hour response to law enforcement and hospital emergency rooms, safe shelter for women and their children who are fleeing a violent environment, counseling and support group services, legal assistance for Domestic Violence Restraining Orders, Criminal and Civil Justice advocacy, and Case Management support programs.

If you have any questions about our services, please feel free to contact us via email at gro.scwnevah@ofni or call us at (209) 524-4331.