Coordinated Community Responses to Domestic Violence in Six Communities: Beyond the Justice System. Overview of the Coordinated Community Response

10/01/1996

San Francisco has a long history of interagency collaboration and political activism on many issues, and the community's response to domestic violence follows in this tradition with a well-established and comprehensive network of agencies that work together on domestic violence issues. A broad range of stakeholders participates in the coordination efforts including many social service, health care and law enforcement agencies, the courts, the media and private citizens. Interactions among the various agencies are generally characterized by a spirit of cooperation and a commitment to the shared goal of improving domestic violence services.

The Family Violence Prevention Fund, a non-profit organization that focuses on domestic violence education, prevention and public policy reform both within San Francisco and nationally, provides a strong advocacy presence, and together with domestic violence shelters and service providers has provided sustained leadership and initiated many collaborative efforts. Throughout the years, a number of domestic violence coordinating bodies have been formed. At present these include the Domestic Violence Consortium (a longstanding group of domestic violence service providers), and the recently-created Family Violence Council, which includes broader representation. The various committees in the community have facilitated interactions among agencies, created widespread institutional change, and developed a service system that is responsive to the diverse needs of battered women and men in the San Francisco community. However, while most of the key domestic violence service providers are part of these efforts, other agencies who also serve battered women and men but whose primary focus is not domestic violence have not been an integral part of this network to date. However, new organizations have learned of the Consortium's work and recently expressed interest in collaborative efforts.

Coordination related to domestic violence takes a variety of forms in San Francisco including joint trainings, formal service contracts between providers, and co-location and co- management of programs. Given the long-term collegial relationships among the various providers, a great deal of informal coordination takes place as well with agencies contacting one another directly to address specific problems.