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Community Beyond Violence: DVSAC Has Changed Its Name

posted Nov 2, 2017, 2:29 PM by Kristin Snell   [ updated Nov 2, 2017, 4:04 PM ]

From the website:

At DVSAC, we seek to lift our community beyond all forms of interpersonal violence by engaging the community, empowering individuals, and reducing violence through prevention.

In an attempt to reach a wider and more diverse audience we have renamed the agency this month. The new name, Community Beyond Violence, has been hinted at and then announced at various times throughout the Summer. Some see it as shedding a dated name to keep up with the times, and others see it as only the beginning of a new legacy.

The Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Coalition (or DVSAC)  was founded by the Quakers in 1978. It was a movement led by community members, who were providing resources for women and children to escape domestic violence. Since then, DVSAC has served Western Nevada County on issues like sexual assault, child and elder abuse, sexual harassment, bullying and human trafficking.

Throughout those years the name has changed to reflect its expanding programs from its original “Battered Women’s Alliance” to include men in 1981 as “Coalition to Eliminate Domestic Violence in Nevada County” then eventually to include sexual assault in 1994 as “The Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Coalition.”

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, this is a time where the community needs to band together to promote healthy relationships and change social norms that allow behaviors that tolerates violence.

The name, DVSAC, created a distraction from the work we do. The name itself had absolutely no indication of one of the main objectives of the agency, the prevention and reduction of violence. Potential clients that could benefit from the services and resources the group provides would be scared away by the name if they didn’t identify as a victim of such issues. The name was long and confusing for donors and supporters. Only someone intimately familiar with the agency could remember all of the words in the name, let alone the acronym.

We are aiming to reach a larger community. Times are changing, and so are the demographics. We’re not the same county that existed in 1978, when it began. We 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 also work to promote healthy and stable families.

A recent Community Beyond Violence 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.”

 As part of its re-branding we plan to reach a wider audience by expanding our voice and exploring different outreach avenues. This change is about more than just a name. We want to make sure that people see this change as not just about a brand, but about increasing the role our agency plays in preventing and reducing violence in our community and growing those who can be included in our mission along the way.