Marilyn Peterson

Technical Advisor

Marilyn Strachan Peterson, MSW, MPA

Marilyn Strachan Peterson has a 40-year history improving services, initiating lasting strategies, and building infrastructure in California for survivors of interpersonal violence. She conceptualized the need for the California Clinical Forensic Medical Training Center (CCFMTC) and worked with colleagues to establish it in state law with continuous funding since 1996. Together with colleagues, the CCFMTC has grown to have a statewide, national and international reputation. She served as CCFMTC director from 1986 to 2019. Marilyn promoted the need for Cal SAFE to ensure that examiners were included at the state level policy-making table, to develop state-of-the-art educational materials meeting the needs of examiners, and to have a forum for professional networking and support.

Marilyn has had the practical experience of establishing and developing a rape crisis center from 1976 to 1980 when no operational manuals existed and added a battered women’s counseling and shelter program; forming the California Coalition of Rape Crisis Centers now named CALCASA, a formidable advocacy organization; working as the first Sexual Assault Victim Services Branch Chief at the Governor’s Office of Criminal Justice Planning funding rape crisis centers and child sexual abuse programs from 1980-1987; hired as the first Director of the UCDMC CAARE Center from 1988 to 2010 which provided medical/evidentiary exams, foster care health services, mental health treatment for abused and neglected children, and statewide training. She has a dedicated history of facilitating professional working groups to establish and gain consensus to establish the standardized rape kit in California and all of the California forensic medical examination forms. Last, she has suggested legislation to improve response and treatment of survivors such as the sexual battery law, defining consent in the penal code regarding sexual assault, expanding from 3 to 10 years the statute of limitations for sexual assault survivors filing civil suits, and establishing a standardized rape kit for California crime laboratories and examiners. Sometimes, she got into a lot of “good trouble” along the way. Marilyn earned her two master’s degrees from California State University, Sacramento.