DVSAC CHANGES ITS NAME TO COMMUNITY BEYOND VIOLENCE
In an attempt to reach a wider and more diverse audience the Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Coalition (DVSAC), renamed itself to Community Beyond Violence in the Summer of 2017.
Initially known as, The Domestic Violence Coalition, it was founded as a nonprofit organization by the Quakers in 1980. Previous to that, in 1978, it was a movement called Battered Women’s Alliance, led by community members who were providing resources for women and children to escape domestic violence. Since then, DVSAC has expanded to serve men, women and children surrounding issues like sexual assault, child and elder abuse, sexual harassment and human trafficking.
Changing the name to a positive, solution-oriented phrase that more accurately reflects the agency’s mission and vision for its community has been a long time coming. Now more than ever, the community needs to band together to promote healthy relationships and change social norms that allow behaviors that tolerates violence.
The name, DVSAC, created many distractions from the work the group does. It had no indication of one of the main objectives of the agency, the prevention and reduction of violence. Potential clients that could benefit from its services did not access resources if they did not identify as a victim of such issues. The name was long, confusing and dark for donors and supporters.
A recent shelter client says “Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition” didn’t connect with her. “The term ‘domestic violence’ is something that not everyone can relate to, or wants to relate to, particularly people who haven’t been physically hurt but have experienced emotional abuse, like me.”
The agency conducted research and found that many feel strongly about the mission and vision and that the name should reflect what the organization is trying to create, not prevent.
Dropping the words “domestic” and “sexual assault” is meant to appeal to more potential clients as well as supporters. The word “violence” was kept to keep the public mindful of how it stands apart from other local non-profits who work to promote healthy and stable families. Violence is also an issue that should not be minimized or ignored. It affects our whole community and everyone has a role to play in ending it.
Community Beyond Violence (CBV) says it plans to better engage the community by expanding its voice and exploring different outreach avenues. For the agency’s leadership, this change is about more than just a name. It’s about increasing the role the organization plays in preventing and reducing violence in the community and growing those who can be included in their mission along the way.