The Coalition Against Rape and Domestic Violence (CARDV) of Callaway County is a non-profit organization of committed advocates and volunteers whose mission is to break the cycles of domestic abuse and sexual violence. At the heart of this mission is the belief that all women, men, and children have the fundamental rights of emotional and physical safety and of freedom from violence and assault in their homes, in their communities, and throughout their lives.
CARDV was founded in 1994 when a small group of community members came together to form a Board of Directors. In 1997, we hired our first Victim Advocate and have continued to expand and restructure our professional staff and services to meet the most pressing needs of the community we serve.
CARDV was established as a non-residential domestic abuse and sexual assault victim service program. Initially, the decision to be non-residential stemmed from the lack of financial resources necessary to maintain a shelter. However, as our program evolved, we have remained non-residential, believing that emergency housing in the form of hotel/motel placement is appropriate for our community. Safety is paramount to every interaction with victims and their children. We believe that a non-residential service model emphasizes both current and long-term, sustainable safety. In our experience, most victims of domestic and/or sexual violence need assistance with individualized goal and action planning. As a result, the personal attention of knowledgeable, sensitive staff and volunteers who offer support, information, and referrals, supplemented with financial assistance for basic needs, presents an effective model for achieving the sustainable safety of our clients. In 2006, CARDV purchased the commercial, non-residential building from which we still operate today.
While CARDV always provided services to victims of sexual assault, 2009 was the first year we were officially granted dual program status by the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (MCADSV). Making an intentional effort to further develop and expand inclusive, culturally competent services to sexual assault survivors, CARDV participated in an 18-month collaborative effort with MCADSV called the “Dual Programs Building Capacity Project” in 2010.
In January 2010, CARDV initiated a Coordinated Community Response Team (CCRT) to enhance collaboration and communication between the criminal justice system and other agencies working with victims of domestic and/or sexual violence. Members of the CCRT meet monthly at the Callaway County Courthouse to collectively address issues surrounding domestic abuse and sexual assault. The goal of the CCRT is to establish a uniform, comprehensive response to support victims of these crimes and increase offender accountability. The CCRT is comprised of the Prosecuting Attorney, staff of the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, representatives from local police municipalities, the Callaway County Sheriff, the Circuit Clerk, the administrator of Fulton Community Supervision Center (Probation and Parole), the 13th Judicial Circuit Domestic Violence Court Coordinator, the director and a facilitator of a local batterers’ intervention program, and staff members of CARDV.
In 2011, CARDV partnered with the University of Missouri School of Social Work to fund and house two trauma-informed therapy research projects, one for adult and the other for child survivors of domestic and/or sexual violence. While worthwhile and efficacious, these projects were financially devastating to the agency to the point that we almost had to close our doors. When the last of these projects concluded in early 2013, the Board of Directors stepped in to develop a strategic plan to save and sustain the organization. This plan included new agency leadership, a significantly reduced staff with new personnel, and a return to our early model of service provision.
By the end of 2013, CARDV had a new, professional, and passionate advocacy and leadership team that has since focused on enhancing their direct service and communication skills, rebuilding relationships within the community, and returning to our core mission and historical model of service provision with the addition of a small counseling/therapy contract. Without counseling, the long-term effects of trauma can often be just as devastating as the initial crisis.