Only 50 years have passed since early grassroots efforts, then known then as the battered women’s movement, began to raise awareness and call for services to support victims and survivors of spousal abuse.
- Kentucky’s first domestic violence shelter opened in Louisville in 1977 and by 1980 there were six shelter programs serving battered women and their children in the Commonwealth. The Kentucky Domestic Violence Association (now known as ZeroV) was founded in 1981 by the staff of the existing programs as a statewide coalition whose membership was to include all domestic violence programs in Kentucky.
The development of national and statewide coalitions was critical—and helped begin to shift the narrative. Kentucky has been leading this since 1981, when our Commonwealth’s six existing spouse abuse shelters formed their own state coalition, then known as the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association – KDVA.
- Early on, the Commonwealth committed to providing regional domestic violence services and by 1987 there were programs (shelters) operating in each of Kentucky’s fifteen Area Development Districts. The purpose of KDVA (now ZeroV) was to provide mutual support, information, resource sharing and technical assistance; to coordinate services; and to collectively advocate for battered women and their children on statewide issues.
In 2014, KDVA became KCADV—the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
- Since becoming KCADV, we’ve implemented and sustained major wins for survivors, including our nationally acclaimed housing program for survivors and our economic empowerment programming.
- We’ve overcome the unprecedented challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic—sheltering survivors in local hotels, and in some cases, relocating shelter offices to hotels so that our shelter doors never closed.
- And the coalition’s Statement on Racism and State Violence in 2020 began to tackle major issues of racism, poverty, and bodily autonomy that both directly and indirectly affect Kentucky survivors.
In 2023, KCADV became ZeroV: Kentucky united against violence.
- Our goal of creating safe and thriving futures for survivors has broadened. Domestic violence is a form of violence that is part of a larger, interconnected web of power and control. Our goal as ZeroV is to provide critical thought leadership, survivor services, and community that unravels this web of violence, by addressing the root causes of violence through an intersectional lens.
- ZeroV and its members have advocated for changes in state laws to help victims of domestic violence since 1982. Our coalition has also aided passage of legislation addressing warrantless arrest, emergency protective orders, marital rape, dating violence and increasing resources for victim services.
To learn more about our history, check out our timeline PowerPoint.
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