The mission of the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence is to end domestic and sexual violence in the lives of Tennesseans and to change societal attitudes and institutions that promote and condone violence, through public policy advocacy and activities which increase the capacity of programs and communities to address such violence.
The Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence began in 1983 when a small group of committed activists gathered together to work on legislation that would provide the first state funding for domestic violence programs in Tennessee. After this successful effort, the group decided to formalize its existence as the Tennessee Task Force on Family Violence. The Task Force merged in 2000 with the Tennessee Coalition Against Sexual Assault and eventually became the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, Tennessee’s only statewide coalition dedicated to the eradication of violence against women.
Here’s what we’ve been able to accomplish this past year with your help and support:
$400,000 was invested by the Coalition in local community efforts to end domestic and sexual violence
13,206 victim advocates, police officers, judges, social workers, nurses, probation officers, clerks, and policymakers received training and technical assistance from the Coalition.
167 immigrant and trafficked victims received direct legal advice and representation from the Coalition’s Immigrant Legal Clinic.
125 sexual assault survivors received holistic legal services from the Coalition’s Sexual Assault Legal Clinic.
181 survivors fleeing dangerous situations got help with moving and housing expenses through the Coalition’s Emergency Assistance Fund.
The Coalition works hard every day to end domestic and sexual violence. We raise awareness about the issue and make sure local programs have the resources they need to provide services to survivors. We develop programs that teach a new generation about violence-free relationships and advocate for policies that protect victims. As we continue our work to end domestic and sexual violence, we will rely on allies like you to join with us in this life-saving work. We’ve always run a tight ship, but as funding for domestic and sexual violence services has decreased in recent years, our budget has to go even farther. We have to be able to accomplish even more with the same or even less money. Your support is more important than ever before.
a career prosecutor who has significant experience prosecuting both domestic
violence and child exploitation cases, I have seen the devastating short and
long term effects on children and adult victims of sexual and domestic violence.
Having first learned about domestic violence in law school through training
conducted by the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence over
20 years ago, I have come to appreciate the significant contributions this
organization has made and continues to make in the lives of survivors of
violence through its exceptional public policy work,
advocacy, education, legal assistance, and other services and resources. Because
domestic and sexual violence persist and because of the excellent work of the Coalition,
I have sought to remain involved over the years and am proud to have the
opportunity to chair the board this year.
After serving as the Executive Director of the Coalition for almost thirty years, I often say that I have the greatest job in the world. Every morning I get up and think about how we can change the world today! The Coalition serves as a vehicle to organize people who want to make the world a safer place. We believe that a group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world, and we invite you to join us by making a financial investment in this lifesaving work.
The Coalition works on behalf of victims by monitoring legislation and advocating for laws that protect victims’ rights. We analyze legislation to insure that victims' rights are respected and that new laws don't inadvertently harm victims. When laws need to be changed, we assist with drafting bills that will address the problems identified by victims and advocates. Our executive director serves as our registered lobbyist at the Tennessee General Assembly. With more than thirty years experience, she works hard to make sure that Tennessee's laws protect victims and hold perpetrators accountable.
In addition, the Coalition is the administrative arm of the Domestic Violence State Coordinating Council. The Council, comprising representatives from law enforcement, the courts, and victim services, was established by the Tennessee General Assembly to develop model policies and training curriculums for law enforcement agencies and the courts, and to certify and monitor batterer’s intervention programs.
Each year, the Coalition monitors nearly 3,000 bills in the Tennessee
General Assembly to ensure that victims of domestic violence and sexual assault
are protected and perpetrators held accountable.
Since its inception the Coalition has successfully advocated for passage
of more than 125 new laws to protect victims and hold perpetrators accountable.
The Coalition measures the success of its policy advocacy by the number
and quality of laws passed and policies instituted to protect victims and hold
In 2013, the Coalition worked with the governor's office to achieve a $250,000 increase in state funding for domestic violence shelters. In 2012, the Coalition successfully advocated for several important pieces of state legislation. As a result, adult victims of sexual assault or domestic abuse can now seek medical treatment without fear that providers will report the crimes to law enforcement without their consent. Judges can now order domestic abusers to complete a batterers’ intervention program certified by the Domestic Violence State Coordinating Council as part of alternative sentencing. Abusers can only be ordered to a non-certified program if no certified program is available in that community. Penalties for a second or subsequent domestic assault have been increased, and a new offense has been created for knowingly preventing a person from calling for emergency assistance or rendering unusable a telephone that would be used to call for help.
The Coalition provides help to victims directly through its Immigrant Legal Clinic, Sexual Assault Legal Clinic, and Abuse Survivors Emergency Assistance Fund. Since its inception in 2004, the Immigrant Legal Clinic has provided legal advice and representation in immigration cases to more than 1,000 victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking statewide.
The Diane Stewart Abuse Survivors Emergency Assistance Fund provides emergency assistance to victims of domestic and sexual violence to help them become safer. Throughout the year, domestic and sexual violence programs refer victims to the Coalition for emergency assistance. Victims also contact the Coalition directly. Program specialists with training and experience in working with domestic and sexual violence victims help victims develop safety strategies. Payment of up to $240 is made directly to vendors. Examples of fundable expenses include moving and transportation expenses and costs associated with new, safer housing. This project began in December 2011 with a $5,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. Today, the project provides assistance statewide to more than 180 victims per year.
The Coalition provides training and technical assistance on domestic and sexual violence to communities throughout Tennessee. Each year the Coalition hosts an Annual Conference, during which advocates and professionals from across Tennessee join together for three days of networking, skill building, and training from local and nationally recognized experts in the fields of domestic and sexual violence.
Coalition staff members organize and provide training at the Senator Tommy Burks Victim Assistance Academy, held annually at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Named in memory of the late Senator Tommy Burks, the Academy provides comprehensive, basic-level victim assistance training to victim services providers and allied professionals.
Through our Rape Prevention and Education project, the Coalition hosts a statewide Rape Prevention and Education Institute, social media trainings in the three regions of the state, and maintenance of the prevention resource database. The purpose of this project, supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is to strengthen sexual violence prevention efforts across the state through increased awareness, education and training, and crisis hotline support.
In addition, we offer a wide variety of training opportunities including Violence Against Women training for new advocates, regional trainings, P.O.S.T.-approved law-enforcement training, and targeted training for judges, law enforcement executives, executive directors of domestic and sexual violence programs, and victim advocates. Technical assistance is offered on creating trauma-informed services, sustainability, technology safety, and program and policy development.
Rebecca S. Montgomery is the Legal Counsel for the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence. In addition to her advice and counsel role for the Coalition, Rebecca oversees the Coalition’s Immigration Clinic which provides immigration legal services to victims of domestic and sexual violence as well as human trafficking. Rebecca also oversees the Coalition’s legal publications and provides training and technical assistance on legal issues for the Coalition’s constituencies.
Rebecca maintains a part-time law practice is an experienced family law attorney and Rule 31 listed mediator. As a former magistrate (appointed judge) for Davidson County, Tennessee juvenile court, Rebecca uses her judicial experience to advise her clients in their divorce, child custody, visitation, child support, and paternity cases. Rebecca also provides estate planning legal services. Rebecca also offers legal services aimed at addressing the unique needs of the LGBT community in the area of family law and estate planning.
An honors graduate of the Nashville School of Law and Ohio Northern University, Rebecca previously served as a lawyer in Tennessee state government. Her positions included General Counsel for the Tennessee Supreme Court's Administrative Office of the Courts, General Counsel for the Tennessee Department of Children's Services, Legal Counsel for the Tennessee Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and Assistant General Counsel for the Tennessee Regulatory Authority.
Dawn Harper is the Director of Program Development for the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence. Prior to joining the Coalition, she worked as a Program Coordinator for Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. Dawn served as liaison between patients and providers to ensure collaborative, coordinated care for all patients. Dawn created, submitted, and received approval for accreditation with the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association. In 2004, Dawn became a Forensic Interviewer for the Nashville Children’s Alliance, where she interviewed over 1,300 children who are alleged victims of abuse, including sexual and physical abuse. She also interviewed children who had witnessed violent crimes. Dawn served on Tennessee Child Advocacy Centers Forensic Interviewers (TCACFI) board and often testified in criminal and juvenile court.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Relationships have ups and downs, but certain types of behavior in any relationship are unacceptable and abusive. Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, yet the epidemic is often overlooked, excused, or denied. This rings especially true when the abuse psychological, rather than physical. Emotional abuse is often minimized, yet can leave deep and lasting scars.
"Women in Tennessee are in the middle of a health crisis. What are YOU going to do?"
Dr. Stephaine Walker's call to action followed the launch of the TN Women's Health Report Card, which showed some clear areas of progress since the previous snapshot of women's health in our state, but also a number of areas in which there is still significant work to be done. While we are getting more mammograms and have significantly decreased our rates of breast and lung cancers, for example, cervical cancer rates have increased, and 42% of Tennessee's women have high blood pressure. Almost 1 in 5 of us smoked while we were pregnant, and 1 in 3 of us are obese. African American women experience striking disparities in rates of breast cancer, STD contraction, and infant mortality.
The full 2013 report can be accessed through the link below. Read carefully, and decide what YOU are going to do to improve the health of women in Tennessee.
In today's climate of economic uncertainty, Middle Tennesseans may be concerned about the potential of rising crime. Fortunately, there are ways we can work together to protect ourselves and our communities from crime.
Crime prevention cannot be achieved by one body alone. Rather, effective crime prevention results from a web of institutions, agencies, and daily life — including communities, families, schools, and the legal institutions of policing and criminal justice.
Human trafficking has long been an international concern, but did you know that trafficking could be happening in your own neighborhood? News features on this topic often concentrate on women and children in third world countries who have been forced into the sex trade industry involuntarily, but this industry has evolved into one of the most lucrative businesses worldwide. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, human sex trafficking is "the fastest-growing business of organized crime and the third-largest criminal enterprise in the world." What you may not know is that human trafficking is growing in the United States and takes place right here in Middle Tennessee.
In Tennessee, gang presence has been on the rise since the late 1980s and early 1990s, when gangs first made a concerted push into the state. Since 2011, police have identified at least 5,000 gang members in Davidson County, and gang-related crimes have increased by 25%. Meanwhile, cities with 50,000 or fewer inhabitants have seen gang-related crimes triple in frequency nationally since 2005.
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