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Experts Join Rapidly Growing Domestic Violence Website

July 11, 2016

A group comprised of authors, academics, researchers, program operators and nationally-recognized domestic violence experts has joined DomesticShelters.org, as the online service continues to expand its reach and impact among survivors and those who help them.

“We’ve been working on establishing this group for a number of months and are proud to have assembled a diverse team of authorities with more than 100 years of collective experience in the field,” said Anita Hildreth, executive director of the non-profit Theresa's Fund which operates DomesticShelters.org.

Rita Smith, who led the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) from 1992-2014 and established the original relationship between DomesticShelters.org and NCADV, is among the group members. She is also is doubling as a consultant to Theresa’s Fund. Smith currently serves as a senior advisor to the National Football League on policy and training issues related to domestic violence and sexual assault.

“In early 2014, when I first heard that the website was in development, I recognized that it had the potential to fulfill the service gap of helping people find programs, shelters and local helplines faster and easier,” said Smith, whom for years published a print directory of programs and knew the importance of moving that type of information online and onto mobile devices.

“Today the website is exceeding its promise by seeing well over 1 million visitors annually and pointing people to the local resources best suited to their situational needs,” added Smith. “The opportunity exists to have an even greater impact, and we’ve created this highly knowledgeable expert group to play a role in helping us get there.”

Joining Smith are four additional advisory group members:

Oliver J. Williams, Ph.D. has worked in the field of domestic violence for 30 years as a clinical practitioner, as well as in executive and advisory capacities for the School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota; Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community; Center for Disease Control; U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women; U.S. Office on Women’s Health; U.S. Department of Education; National Domestic Violence Hotline; and Family Justice Center Alliance. His research and publications have centered on creating service delivery strategies to reduce violent behavior and support victims of abuse. He has consulted with the NFL, MLB and NBA on issues related to domestic violence.

Barry Goldstein has dedicated his career to stopping violence against women and preventing the mental, emotional and physical trauma it inflicts on children. Barry is the author and co-author of several books including Scared to Leave Afraid to Stay; Representing the Domestic Violence Survivor; Domestic Violence, Abuse and Child Custody; and The Quincy Solution. He was an attorney representing victims of domestic violence for 30 years. He is a sought-after speaker, and provides workshops, judicial and other trainings regarding domestic violence particularly related to custody issues. He also serves as a consultant and expert witness.

Kristen Paruginog is a survivor, advocate, activist and the Founder of national non-profit organization, Break the Silence against Domestic Violence, which is committed to providing empowering, educational, self-healing, life-saving, and activist building programs and services to victims and survivors of domestic violence. Kristen has been recognized by many national publications to include: Glamour magazine, ESPN, and Investigation Discovery for her commitment to combat abuse. She also serves on the Health and Human Services Board for the County of San Diego.

Ruth Jewell is an experienced leader in both the for profit and the non-profit Native and Non-Native workforce regarding victims of crime with a focus on the justice system and is a national trainer and presenter.She has program development and coordinating experience, grant writing, federal grant peer reviewer expertise, and is a program founder and administrator. With additional experience in policy and procedures development, Ruth has strong community collaboration skills. She has the ability to network with any segment of society; she is culturally competent, sensitive and has a strong knowledge of the unique barriers and challenges faced by marginalized populations, especially Native communities affected by domestic violence and sexual assault. She is a citizen of the Penobscot Tribe.

DomesticShelters.org is the fastest growing website in North America on the topic of domestic violence. It launched in August, 2014, offering a searchable online and mobile database of domestic violence programs to make finding help faster and easier, and has since expanded to include more than 300 articles on domestic violence, checklists, statistics and infographics, recommended books, widgets, online forums/chats, national organizationand state coalition listings, rankings, state summaries, very interesting surveys, and motivational memes.

About Theresa’s Fund

Theresa’s Fund is an Arizona-based 501(c)3 non-profit charity started in 1992 by Preston V. McMurry, Jr. At a time when domestic violence wasn’t yet a headline, Theresa’s Fund focused on changing the landscape of domestic violence services in its home state through grant making, board development and fundraising for Arizona-based organizations like East Valley Child Crisis Center, Sojourner Center, Florence Crittenden, Emerge, UMOM, and West Valley Child Crisis Center. In 2014, it developed the DomesticShelters.org concept as a way to expand its reach to people across the U.S. and Canada. DomesticShelters.org is the first online and mobile searchable database of programs and shelters in the U.S./Canada, and a leading source of helpful tools and information for people experiencing and working to end domestic violence.