Understanding Who NCADV Is

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) was established in 1978 as the first national organization representing the voices and concerns of victims and survivors of domestic violence at the federal policy level. Over the past forty-three years, NCADV’s work centered the most pressing needs of domestic violence victims and the advocates who serve them. Since our beginning, evolutions in NCADV’s mission and leadership along with the formation of other critical national organizations working to eliminate domestic violence has led to advancements in our focus.

This blog post will be the first in a series that explains in detail who NCADV is, share what NCADV does, counter myths about NCADV, and explore how people can help NCADV. By the time you finish reading this blog post, you will understand who NCADV is by examining three key factors, as understood by our name, board and staff members, and why we are here.

First, let's explore NCADV by breaking down the name of the organization.

  1. What’s in an (NCADV) name?

NATIONAL (adjective): common to the whole people of a country

NCADV represents a diverse population that includes all the U.S. states and territories nationwide, including communities in urban, suburban, and rural areas populated by every race, religion, gender/sexual identity.

COALITION (noun): an alliance between persons, factions, etc.

We represent a diverse group of people, including survivors of domestic / intimate partner violence as well as advocates, families/friends, first responders, law enforcement, attorneys, medical providers -- literally anyone working to support survivors. Our collective goal is to eliminate domestic violence..

AGAINST (preposition): in opposition to

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (noun): willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another

NCADV’s focus is on intimate partner violence, a branch of family or domestic violence that focuses on partner abuse.

So breaking down who NCADV is based on our name, we are a group of people who represent a diverse and non-homogenous population who have come together in opposition to partner abuse.


  1. The People Behind the Name

NCADV is proud to serve as a survivor-centric organization on behalf of domestic violence victims and survivors. In fact ….

  • Ruth Glenn, NCADV’s President and CEO since 2014, is a survivor of domestic violence, making NCADV a survivor-led organization;
  • NCADV’s bylaws require us to have more than 50% of our board of directors to identify as survivors, making our board a survivor-informed group of advisors;
  • Over half of NCADV’s current staff self-identify as survivors of intimate partner violence, making our staff survivor-powered.

NCADV is not only survivor-centric in our work; we are survivor-led, survivor-advised, and survivor-staffed, and it’s a deep source of pride and passion for us.


  1. Why We’re Here

Understanding why we are here is key to understanding who we are because we do different work than most domestic violence organizations. Many non-profits serving domestic violence victims do so via their services -- for example, shelters who offer housing to victims fleeing an abusive partner. NCADV’s focus is bigger and broader than coping with problems created by domestic violence; we want to end the cultural assumptions and values that allow domestic violence to flourish. We are making macro changes to the culture to change how society addresses the issue of domestic violence.

That’s why our mission statement reads as follows …

Our mission is to lead, mobilize and raise our voices to support efforts that demand a
change of conditions that lead to domestic
violence such as patriarchy, privilege,
racism, sexism, and classism.
We are dedicated to supporting survivors and holding
accountable and supporting advocates.

NCADV approaches domestic violence through an anti-oppression lens because we view domestic violence as a microcosm of an oppressive society. The violence exerted over an individual victim of domestic violence is strikingly similar in how oppressive systems exert power over a population. Oppression, whether from a partner or a patriarchal system, results in more oppression.


To recap … NCADV is a national organization. We represent a diverse coalition of groups and people (including survivors) who are united in our work to not only end domestic violence, but the social and cultural ways that domestic violence is permitted to flourish in. In the next installment of this blog series, we’ll be taking a deeper look at the work that NCADV does to educate advocates and survivors, advocate legislation and policies with lawmakers and raise awareness for the general public.

Posted by Lynn Brewer at 13:20
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