AVA’s Beginning
Prevalence of Abuse
Vision, Mission and Goals


To understand how AVA began
To understand why AVA is a ministry in the Covenant Church
To learn the vision, mission and goals of AVA

AVA’s Beginning

  • In 2004, “Light for AVA – Advocacy for Victims of Abuse” was launched by the Department of Women Ministries of the Evangelical Covenant Church. Project Manager Rev. Dr. Aleese Moore-Orbih provided sustained and informed leadership for a three-year period.
  • In 2005, “Standing with AVA” continued the fund raising effort to support the initiative.
  • In 2007, AVA was placed under the leadership of an AVA Director and AVA’s funding was continued through supporters of the vision.
  • The AVA website was developed and continues to be maintained with resources for victims/survivors, trained AVA advocates, and lay and clergy leaders.
  • In 2011, the AVA Online Tutorial was launched. While open to the public, it provides completion recognition to credentialed and lay leaders in the Evangelical Covenant Church.

Prevalence of Abuse

  • On average more than three women a day are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the United States of America.
  • In 2005, over one thousand women were murdered by an intimate partner. 1
  • In the U.S. a woman is battered every 15 seconds. 2
  • Studies estimate 2 to 4 million women each year suffer injuries from domestic violence, and more than 1 million seek medical attention for such injuries. 3
  • One in 3-4 women will experience abuse (rape or physical assault) in her lifetime. 4
  • Twenty eight percent of marriages include physical violence; 50-56% are abusive in some form. 5
  • Forty to sixty percent of children living in homes where adult abuse occurs also experience direct abuse themselves. All experience indirect abuse. 6/7
  • Over 40% of male and female high school students indicate they have been victims of dating violence at least once. 8
  • Fifty to eighty percent of teens have reported knowing peers who were involved in violent relationships. 8
  • Fifteen percent of teens (female and male) reported being victims of severe dating violence (defined as being hit, kicked, thrown down, or attacked with a weapon). 8
  • Eight percent of 8th and 9th grade students have reported being victims of sexual violence when dating. 8
  • Sixteen to 24-year-old women are the most highly victimized group. 9
  • 700,000 women are raped or sexually assaulted annually. Of these victims, 61% are under age eighteen. 10

Healing Communities, Safe Sanctuaries.

Mission Statement

To promote safety and healing for victims of abuse and help bring an end to violence against women and children.

  • Provide resources to bring healing to victims of abuse. Equip the Church to minister to victims.
  • Promote preventive measures against abuse.


Consider these familiar contexts from the perspective of abuse (emphasis added):

“Then Jesus made a circuit of all the towns and villages. He taught in their meeting places, reported kingdom news, and healed their diseased bodies, healed their bruised and hurt lives. When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd. ‘What a huge harvest!’ he said to his disciples. ‘How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!’”
Matthew 9:35-37
The Message

“The prayer was no sooner prayed than it was answered. Jesus called twelve of his followers and sent them into the ripe fields. He gave them power to kick out the evil spirits and to tenderly care for the bruised and hurt lives.”
Matthew 10:1-2
The Message


1. Shannan Catalano. “Intimate Partner Violence in the United States,” (U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics 2007).
2. UN Study on the Status of Women, 2000.
3. Martin S. Lipsky, S. Mitchell, and B. King, B. Blueprints, Family Medicine, 2nd. Edition, Lippincott, Williams and Wilkens, 2006.
4. Women’s & Men’s Health Survey, Harris & Associates, 1998.
5. Dr. Nancy Nason-Clark, “When Terror Strikes the Christian Home”; Keynote Address at The Awakening Conference, Ft. Lauderdale, FL; 10/07/2006, Coker AL, Smith PH, McKeown RE, Melissa KJ. Frequency and correlates of intimate partner violence by type: physical, sexual, and psychological battering. American Journal of Public Health 2000; 90(4):553-9.
6. Bureau of Justice Statistics as reported in Women’s Fund Newsletter July 2007.
7. Lee Bowker, “Religious Victims and Their Religious Leaders: Services Delivered to One Thousand Battered Women” by the Clergy in Abuse and Religion, 230-31.
8. The National Center for Victims of Crime.
9. Callie Marie Rennison, “Intimate Partner Violence and Age of Victim,” 1993-1999. Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report. Washington DC: U.S. 2001.
10. National Victim Center.