The Coalition was created on January 25th, 1978, when five local social service organizations recognized the growing epidemic of domestic violence and came together to start a shelter for victims and their children. The goal of the coalition, then named the Coalition for Victims of Domestic Violence, was locating a site and securing funding for a domestic violence shelter as well as increasing community awareness of the issue of domestic violence. In a year, Haven House was opened. The Coalition members served as the shelter’s Board of Directors, and later as its Advisory Board. Membership of the Coalition grew, and in 1983 when the shelter became a program of Child & Family Services, the Coalition decided that it would expand its focus to address wider family violence issues, including child and elder abuse. As part of this process, the Coalition changed its name, eventually settling on its current name, the Erie County Coalition Against Family Violence, on May 13th, 1988.
Through the decades, the organizational focus of the ECCAFV altered slightly based on the community’s needs, the political and social climate, and the rising acknowledgment of family violence as a significant social concern. For example, after the passage of the Violence Against Women Act, and the New York State omnibus domestic violence legislation in the mid 1990’s, the ECCAFV focused on developing a coordinated community response, and becoming more professionalized. In the late 1990’s, the ECCAFV became a 501(c)(3), electing not to incorporate so that it could not compete for funding with its member agencies. In the 2000’s, the ECCAFV refocused its mission, vision, and core values to reflect the growing national and international view of domestic violence as a human rights issue, and returned to core grassroots principles of social change activism.
By focusing on our shared core values, our mission, and vision, the ECCAFV has diligently worked to establish a team approach which emphasizes communication, respect, and cooperation. Our willingness to adapt has shown that we are dynamic and vibrant, while never forgetting the “voice” of the victims and our vision of a world without violence.