Contra Costa County to launch domestic violence program

Tuesday, September 23, 2014
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Attorney General Eric Holder announced Contra Costa County has been selected to launch a special program designed to curb domestic violence.

CONCORD, Calif. (KGO) -- Contra Costa County will be in the forefront of trying to curb domestic violence before it happens. Attorney General Eric Holder announced the East Bay county will be among just four in the United States selected to launch a special program designed to identify and stop potentially lethal offenders.

Holder cited the NFL in his announcement Monday, but this program has been in the works for some time now.

In Contra Costa County, the agency STAND! Against Domestic Violence will be among those involved specifically targeting the communities of Brentwood, Concord and Richmond.

"Domestic violence is a devastating crime that claims far too many lives," Holder said.

Taking his cue from all that's gone on in the National Football League in recent weeks, Holder released a video statement announcing that Contra Costa County and three others in the country will receive $2.6 million for pilot programs to identify potentially lethal domestic abusers.

"Studies have shown that, on average, three women die every day in America at the hands of their partner or ex-partner, three women every day. And from 2009 to 2012, 40 percent of mass shootings started with the killer targeting a girlfriend, wife, or an ex-wife," Holder said.

The announcement comes in the wake of several high profile incidents involving NFL players, including here in the Bay Area.

Ray McDonald continues to play for the San Francisco 49ers after his arrest for domestic abuse, but others like Cardinals' Jonathan Dwyer and most notably, Ravens' running back Ray Rice have been benched.

"Domestic violence is a problem in every county," STAND! CEO Gloria Sandoval said.

Stand! Against Domestic Violence is in Concord. Sandoval says her nonprofit and others have been working with the county on the new program for more than a year.

"What we've been able to do is determine what the high risk factors are for escalation, so that strangulation, for example, threatening to kill someone, having a gun in the home. Those are kinds of things you can look and say that's a very high lethality case," Sandoval said.

Sandoval said her agency's hotline took about 15,000 reports of abuse last year, compared with just 7,000 calls to police.

For more information about Stand! Against Domestic Violence, click here. If you know someone in danger contact their Crises Help Line at 1-888-215-5555.