Timeline Highlights

Forty years. Thousands helped. Some highlights…


In 1976 founding members conducted an investigation of domestic violence in Marin demonstrating that the police departments have NO records of family violence in Marin.

  • MAWS receives its tax-exempt status as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and began a 24-hour hotline that received 268 calls the first year.
  • Short-term emergency housing was coordinated through private homes and the Marin Housing Center and in 1977 MAWS opened the doors of its first shelter for abused women and their children. One year later, MAWS purchased a facility with a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • In 1980, MAWS secured office space in central San Rafael. By 1983, MAWS personnel totaled 10 full-time and five part-time positions.
  • In 1980, MAWS began one of the nation’s first Men’s Programs to re-educate men to stop their violent behavior and activated a men’s hotline to deter men from engaging in violence.
  • In 1983, MAWS purchased a 10-unit complex to establish one of the nation’s first transitional housing complexes for battered women and their children.
  • In 1985, MAWS received funding from the California Office of Criminal Justice Planning to develop a curriculum called “Relationship Abuse Prevention Program” and to create a video, “When Love Hurts.’’ Both were one of the first in the nation to address the prevention of dating abuse for high school students.
  • MAWS’ programs and services received national television and radio coverage. MAWS’ Men’s Program was highlighted in a BBC documentary.


MAWS began to work with the national domestic violence organizations to draft legislation to protect the rights of abused women and their children.

  • In 1992, Transforming Communities: Creating Safety and Justice for Women and Girls was started. This model program works with the community to end domestic violence through new prevention programs.
  • In 1994, MAWS received $100,000 worth of pro bono services to create an educational video “Beyond Awareness to Action: Ending Abuse.”
  • MAWS co-authored and helped pass the Federal Violence Against Women Act in 1994.
  • In 1996, MAWS received the Special Achievement Innovations Award in Maternal and Child Health sponsored by the Maternal and Child Health Branch of the California Department of Health Services.
  • The Community Oriented Policing Services Project (COPS) was created in 1997 in partnership with the Marin County Sheriff’s Department to implement a more coordinated criminal justice response to batterers.
  • MAWS received the 1997 National Marshall Award for Excellence in Violence Prevention.
  • In 1997, California Department of Health Services selected MAWS to establish Transforming Communities Technical Assistance Training (TC-TAT), a statewide technical assistance and training net work to foster community prevention.


By 1998, MAWS employed more than 25 people and the organization’s operating budget approached $1.9 million. Annually more than 5,000 women, children, and men were served by MAWS, and thousands more through community work.

  • In 1999, through funding from the Office on Violence Against Women, securing funding from The Grants to Encourage Arrest Program, MAWS initiated the Women’s Community Advocacy Project (WCAP) which included a funded partnership with the District Attorney’s Office.
  • In 2000-2001, MAWS purchased and renovated the 16,000 sq. ft. A Street location. After moving into it in January 2002, the location was officially named the Center for Safety, Justice and Equality. Space is rented to four other “like minded organizations.”
  • Also in 2001, MAWS launched Womankind, a 52 week educational program certified by Marin County Probation Department for women to learn to stop their violence.
  • From 2000-2003, the Healthy and Equal Relating curriculum was developed, test-piloted and launched. At least 78% of all the teen participants did something new to respond to and or prevent verbal and or physical abuse as a result of the information provided.
  • In 2003 after a ten year collaboration with decommissioned Hamilton Air Force Base, MAWS established 10 units of transitional housing which doubled MAWS capacity to house victims and their families.
  • In 2003, MAWS gained national attention as the recipient of the Mary Byron Foundation’s Celebrating Solutions Award, honored for the Mankind Program and its work addressing the root cause of domestic violence.
  • In 2005, MAWS co-founded and co-chaired bringing the Respect for All Collaborative (RAC) to Marin County Middle Schools. This collaboration of nonprofits works with anti-bullying and violence prevention strategies and programs.
  • Also in 2005, MAWS formed Athletes as Allies, with the National Football League Player’s Association Regional Director, to train Marin County high school coaches and athletes in our Healthy and Equal Relating curriculum.
  • In a two year span, TC-TAT provided training and support to over 1000 faith leaders and prevention advocates statewide, conducted trainings and technical assistance to 14 domestic violence state coalitions, and reached over 200 people in 8 trainings statewide through the Preventing Violence Against Women with Disabilities project.
  • Mankind statistics show that 77% of our graduates on probation do not get re-arrested for domestic violence 4 years after graduation. These are some of the best statistics in the country for Batterer’s Intervention Programs.
  • By 2007, MAWS has directly supported over 130,000 women and 28,000 men through their programs, with a budget of $3.2 million and staffed by 45 employees.