The Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence (Coalition) was originally formed by a group of advocates in the early 80’s as part of a movement to end family violence. Recognizing the need to develop services across the state for abused women and children, in 1984 the Coalition successfully advocated for legislation which increased marriage license fees to create the first state funding for domestic violence shelters and child abuse prevention agencies. That same year, the Coalition joined with organizations across the country to encourage the passage of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) which established the first federal domestic violence funding.
In 1995, the Coalition worked to garner support for the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) which created federal funding for social service providers, law enforcement and courts to address domestic and sexual violence. This funding helped establish the Coalition’s Women’s Resource Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence and led to the merger of the Coalition with the Tennessee Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
The Coalition’s effective grassroots public policy advocacy has led to the passage of more than 200 new Tennessee laws designed to increase victim safety and offender accountability including orders of protection, stalking, domestic assault, free rape exams, and mandatory testing of rape kits.
As a result of the expert training and technical assistance the Coalition provides to local communities, the number of programs serving survivors of domestic and sexual violence has increased from five in 1983 to more than sixty today.
Nurturing safer communities, the Coalition established the Women’s Resource Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence, the Domestic Violence State Coordinating Council, the Dianne Stewart Emergency Assistance Fund for Victims, the Statewide Victim Notification System (SAVIN), the Senator Tommy Burks Victim Assistance Academy, the model Law Enforcement Training Project, the Rural Outreach Project, the Coalition Legal Clinics, and a host of annual trainings, conferences and webinars. The Coalition also supports collaboration among service providers, law enforcement and courts through the establishment of local community task forces, Sexual Assault Response Teams, and family justice centers.
The Coalition launched the first statewide public awareness campaign on domestic and sexual violence and continues to facilitate prevention efforts though the DELTA Impact Project and the annual Rape Prevention Education Conference.