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Alameda County has won $1.2 million in federal seed money to open an innovative center for domestic violence victims. The Alameda County DA’s office, the Family Violence Law Center, the Oakland police department and dozens of community groups and government agencies will use the money to establish a Family Justice Center �� essentially a “one-stop shop” for victims, said Chief Assistant DA Nancy O’Malley, who wrote the grant request. Without the center, “a domestic violence victim would have to go to 15 different agencies and four or five different courts,” to take advantage of all of the services available, O’Malley said. Alameda County has a tremendous family violence problem, O’Malley said. There were 180 deaths related to domestic violence in Alameda County from 1995 to 2003. Sixty percent of those deaths took place in Oakland, which is also where 60 percent of the county’s domestic violence calls for help originate. The center, which Alameda hopes to open early next year, will hold offices for several agencies, including the DA, police and the law center. Families will also be able to get medical help as well as information about emergency shelters, job training, child care and other support services. The DA’s office will be the “fiscal center” for the project, O’Malley said. The justice center is a common sense approach, said the Family Violence Law Center’s executive director, Julia Arno. Her group, which will relocate its office to the facility when it opens, received a companion grant of $150,000 to hire an attorney to handle Fremont cases. “Domestic violence cases are very complicated,” Arno said. “It’s not just the criminal intervention that will make the cycle end.” Planners expect they will need more money to get the center off the ground. They hope to fund operations with a $2 fee hike on birth, death and marriage licenses. A law that would allow Alameda County to raise those fees, AB 2010, is making its way through the California Legislature, O’Malley said. The grant comes from President Bush’s Family Justice Center Initiative, a program that funds agencies that want to establish comprehensive domestic violence programs. The first such “one stop” center was established in San Diego in 2002. Alameda was the only California county to receive a startup grant this year. Organizers hope to open the center early next year.

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