Healing People Broken by Violence

About Us


In 1984, President Regan signed the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) into being. The act provided federal funding and services for victims taken from the fines, bonds, and other expenses paid by criminals. Battered women’s safe houses and shelters had been cropping up all over the United States in the twenty or so years prior to the signing of this act; when news of federal money for victims spread, domestic violence advocates “jumped on the opportunity” and started applying for funding. In 1986, Ms. Johnson, the Executive Director of the Domestic Violence Program & Sexual Assault Services, and her friend started the Domestic Violence Program of Rutherford County partnering with the YWCA in Nashville. They had a tiny, one room office with a desk and a phone, their salaries and limited services funded by VOCA. In 1988, they added two safe houses, counseling services, and in 2003 a large, gated shelter. In 2007 Domestic Violence Program merged with the Sexual Assault Services providing counseling, hospital accompaniment, and legal advocacy to victims of sexual assault and stalking. The organization continues to grow to better assist victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence, being able to house 48 women, children, and men in the safe shelter, multiple transitional houses, among many other healing services.


At Domestic Violence Program & Sexual Assault Services, our mission is simple. To PREVENT violence, PROTECT victims, and EMPOWER survivors. We accomplish that by providing citizens of Rutherford County with the resources and assistance necessary to effectively deal with the personal, social, and legal implications of victimization by domestic violence and sexual assault.


Domestic Violence Program and Sexual Assault Services staffing cover the following services:

  • Shelter Support Services
  • Shelter Family Advocacy and Case Management
  • Shelter  Children’s Advocacy and Case Management
  • Shelter Food & Nutrition Services
  • Court Advocacy and Orders of Protection
  • Counseling Services
  • Elder Abuse Advocate & Follow-up Services

Staff Attorney Mitch Shannon

For additional information on our program and services please contact one of the following:

Executive DirectorKaren
Operations ManagerBettie
Community Relations CoordinatorKara
Court AdvocacyMyra
Counseling & Sexual Assault ServicesShelly



The willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another. DV is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, sex, economic status, race, religion, nationality or educational background.

Violence against an intimate partner is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior, and thus is part of a systematic pattern of dominance and control. Domestic violence results in physical injury, psychological trauma, and sometimes death. The consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and truly last a lifetime.


*Information retrieved from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

  • One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
  • Most cases of domestic violence are never reported. This means that many statistics are showing a much lower number than what actually occurs.
  • Children who witness violence in the home is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violence behavior from one generation to the next.
  • 30% – 60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the household.
  • The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year. $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health services.
  • The economic impact of domestic violence for Tennessee alone is 7.8 million dollars per year. Under Sexual Assault


Sexual assault is any forced, coerced, unwanted sexual contact. While there are specific legal definitions of rape and sexual assault, sexual violence is best understood as a broader continuum of unwanted non-mutual sexual activities that range from subtle to extremely violent.

Sexual assault can include, but is not limited to, the concepts of rape, sexual threats and intimidation, incest, sexual assault by intimate partners, child sexual abuse, human sexual trafficking, sexual harassment, street harassment and other forms of unwelcome, coerced or non-consensual activity. The terms sexual violence and sexual abuse are also often used to describe the wide range of activities that constitute sexual assault.


*Information obtained from WOAR.

  • Every 2 minutes another American is sexually assaulted.
  • 2/3 of assaults are committed to by someone the victim knows.
  • One in four women and one in six men will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18.
  • One in twelve college age men admits to doing something that meets the legal definition of sexual assault