Our Services

Our Guiding Principles


The Eastern Shore Coalition Against Domestic Violence became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in May, 1983. Its beginnings were grassroots in nature and the result of local residents' concerns about domestic violence on the Eastern Shore. Initially, the organization's Board of Directors took turns hosting meetings in their homes. They raised funds from special events like bake sales, garage sales, and silent auctions.

Eventually, the organization met at Belle Haven Presbyterian Church. The all-volunteer Board of Directors began a hotline that ran 24-hours a day from a building (not the current building) on Market Street in Onancock. They each took turns sitting in this rental waiting for the phone to ring, and writing grants to help the cause to which they were dedicated. When funds were available, the Owl Motel was utilized to shelter survivors and their children. If funds were not available, survivors and their children were sheltered in various churches. Counselling came in the form of support and accompaniment.

When the Violence Against Women Act was passed in congress, state funding became available. The Board received a grant and The Eastern Shore Coalition Against Domestic Violence finally had an office and employees. The Board members continued to be actively involved. Services to victims increased to include shelter (in motels), legal advocacy, prevention, and intervention services, as well as emergency transportation. In 1996 an emergency shelter was built with the capacity to shelter 16 individuals.

More recently, the organization has experienced a resurgence and new energy. The loss of a state grant in 2012 served as a catalyst for the Board to engage in an ambitious local fundraising campaign. The success of the campaign enabled ESCADV to pay off the mortgages on our shelter and office. Encouraged by the community's overwhelming support, the Board and staff have made a commitment to become a "best practice" organization that can effectively respond to the issues of domestic and sexual violence in our community. Values have been developed to guide all aspects of the organization's operation and an ambitious strategic plan is under development.

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Staff Board of Directors Community Partners Values and Strategic Plan Goals