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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, Crime & Law, Crime & Legal-Related, Domestic Violence, Family Violence Shelters, Homeless & Housing, Human Services, Victims Services, Women, Womens Rights

Mission: The Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center works with abused Americans and their children in foreign countries to provide domestic violence andchild abuse advocacy, resources and tools so that they can navigate thecomplicated jurisdictional, legal & social international landscapes,to be able to live their lives free of abuse either in the foreign countryor back in the United States. This is achieved via an international tollfree crisis line, 866-USWOMEN, accessible from 175 countries, servinga population estimated at 5.25 million American civilians overseas.

Results: In the past 10 years, 2001-2011, we have received 13,175 crisis calls, emails & live chats. We helped 2,848 Americans callers, mostly women, in 101 countries. We have provided "Flights to Freedom" for 81 families, provided 49 legal consultations and paid 24 legal retainers to enable battered mothers to file for custody of their children. We have also provided 62 families with funds for emergency needs and provided counseling services to 56 families.

Target demographics: Americans overseas civilian population estimated at 6 million and military personnel and their families estimated at 1 million

Direct beneficiaries per year: 500 families

Geographic areas served: Worldwide

Programs: The organization provides a lifeline of hope to American victims of domestic violence and sexual assault that live and travel overseas. Through our international,toll-free crisis line (accessible from 175 countries) we serve the approximately 7million Americans living abroad and 68 million who travel abroad annually. We help these populations navigate the complicated jurisdictional,legal, and social landscapes,the services we provide include danger to safety planning, relocation assistance, legal consultation, assistance with housing, and professional counseling.

Community Stories

55 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I can not say enough about the American Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center. In 2007 they saved my life & my children's lives. They are compassionate, organized & reassuring to the point of having every need meet. I am grateful for their knowledge & willingness to work with me through my travel back to the United States & to assist once I was home. 11 years later I still say thank you every chance I get. I am a survivor of Domestic Violence because of them.

Susana Pascuma

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

So proud to be a Case Manager for this amazing organization! These ladies are incredible!

Review from Guidestar

3 Spascuma70

Client Served

Rating: 5

In 2007 I was in a very abusive marriage & in Santiago Chile. I was desperate for help & had no idea how I was going to get out out alive with my 3 children. I received a call from my brother & his wife who had just seen Paula Lucas on the Today show and her interview about the American Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center. They gave me the information I needed to get in touch with them. They helped me get a birth abroad for my daughter ( she was a newborn ) & paid for her US Passport as well as assisted me with the US Embassy to get a way home for us. I can not express the grateful heart I have for Ms Lucas & her organization. My children were 13, 1.5 years & 3 months old. We came back to the states & the help continued every step of way to rebuild our life. I owe it all to this organization. My children are safe, I am safe and we have over come a very traumatic time. I can not say thank you enough & on holidays & birthdays Paula Lucas's name is mentioned, because with out her, I know for a fact I would of not made it out of Chile alive. I often share the American Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center Facebook page to let more people know about them. September 29,2016 I finally shared my story with my community at Night of Hope. It was to bring awareness to Domestic Violence in the community as well as an evening out for the women who are living in the shelters here starting over. Donations of dresses, shoes, purses & jewelry where collected so the victims could feel beautiful again. A night just for them. I would not be able to help theses women if I didn't receive the help I received from American Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center.
Pictures below are 1st pic when we knew we were going home,2nd the kids after arriving in FL, 3rd us now, 4th my picture from Night of Hope.

Thank you Paula Lucas. I owe my life to you, I am grateful everyday I see my children's faces.

Susana P
Ocala Florida

2

Advisor

Rating: 5

As a long serving director of non-profit programs throughout the world, it has been extremely gratifying to learn of the absolutely amazing work of this organization. AODVCC is composed of caring and committed persons who provide unique services to those in need of urgent help.
Americans abroad encompass a vast amount of people including students, tourists, students and military. To cover this population, AODVCC has established an outreach program of professional services that are unique and meet the variety of emergency situations encountered by these mostly women and families. Their services are delivered in a most professional and sensitive way by a most amazing staff. Please continue to support their efforts.

Review from Guidestar

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering with Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center during the summer of 2015 through a serving learning requirement for school.

Being a domestic violence/sexual assault survivor myself was the driving force behind me choosing this organization to fulfill my service learning requirement. Upon meeting with the ladies of this organization, I knew instantly that the Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Women's Crisis Center was an organization that I wanted to continue to volunteer with once I completed my service learning requirement.

Besides the Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Women's Crisis Center being a great cause and worthy of all the praises given, the level of love, dedication and concern that the ladies provide to the clients is simply amazing. I couldn't have chosen a better organization to volunteer with.

Donor

Rating: 5

I think that there is a great need for organizations like Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center! What with so many documented abuses going on right here in the US, I am so glad that there is an avenue for women (mostly) living in foreign countries, to contact should they be in such a terrible situation.

Many of the Middle Eastern countries show little outward respect for women's rights as we enjoy in the US! I can't help but believe that without anywhere for US female citizens to turn to while living in such situations in these countries, there would probably be more extreme abuse or even death! Thank goodness for this well-run organization helping so many literally escape such horrible situations.

This organization has the blessing of many others in the community of crisis and aide to those caught in these conditions. For several years, AODVCC has received the award for one of the best nonprofit organizations in Oregon. When individuals see the value of such an organization, and then donate to it, it affirms it's mission. It affirms the need for it's place in a world so distraught with many just trying to survive, let alone survive with an abuser!

World peace is, of course, a concept that many hope will happen in the future. However, until and if that ever does happen, it is a blessing to have such a well-versed, finely-tuned outreach organization like AODVCC there for those who truly need it. God bless this organization for it's mission of well-being and ability to reach out to those in need for their very own safety and possibly even their lives!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This organization just placed in the top 100 Best Non-Profits to work for in Oregon for the 5th year in a row. They have been in operation since 1999 and have grown into a globally respected program. Hats off to the amazing folks that run this organization. You go above and beyond in your mission.

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This organization is the only one of its kind. They serve both American civilian population overseas, 6.3 million people, plus the American military overseas, over 1 million. They are doing amazing work!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I started out with AODVC as a volunteer several years ago and am honored to now serve on the Board. The founder is a survivor with true grit and determination to help others in similar situations, and the staff are dedicated professionals who go above and beyond to help clients, who are usually overwhelmed by the challenges of dealing with domestic violence or sexual assault so far away from home. This is the only organization offering these case management services!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a victim of domestic violence, I summoned the courage to leave my home with my 2 year old child. I had no job, little money, a car, some toys, and a very selfless female friend who sheltered us for months until I could get back on my feet. AODVCC is such a great organization, offering resources when someone is at a very vulnerable and low point. I was in the U.S. when it happened to us. I cannot imagine what it must be like for women and their families who are in a foreign country. A place where they may not speak the language, hold little or no currency, don't understand the laws, and need papers to leave. AODVCC is that resource. I was lucky to have a friend who held a hand out to us. AODVCC is that friendly place women can go for help.

2 jabraham75

Former staff

Rating: 1

I take back everything i said about this organization. They need to be investigated.

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This is truly an amazing organization that makes it possible for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault overseas to be heard and to receive help. These victims often fall through the cracks due to the lack of support and resources available while living abroad. For many of these victims, this organization is their only hope. I am proud to work for such a passionate and dedicated team.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

AODVC has been a God-send since my children and I first left to a domestic violence shelter in Europe. They have provided support in finding help, contacts, and guidance overseas as well as in the USA. AODVC has written letters and amicus briefs to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights for our case to help secure Interim Measures of protection. We would not have survived this far if it had not been for the good people at AODVC who have been unwaveringly there for us when there is no one else to help Americans overseas but AODVC. There are no words to describe these amazing people and how grateful I am for being there for us for services that were necessary for our life-threatening situation and were not provided anywhere else.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

A truly amazing team of professionals that make a global crisis line and ongoing advocacy possible. It is so empowering to see AODVC continue to expand their services world wide and be available to so many more that desperately need an advocate.

Debbie69

Donor

Rating: 5

Since this is the ONLY organization on the planet that does what it does, it deserves recognition. Americans who live overseas rarely have resources to leave a domestic violence situation - this organization gives them safety planning and other resources to get them to safety and sometimes are able to return them to the US. Many people believe the Embassy's take care of these issues but that is not necessarily the case. AODVCC also educate people here about the risks of leaving American soil. I certainly know what it is like to have a family member in a violent home thousands of miles from the US - there is a sense of helplessness and hopelessness - with AODVCC there is HOPE and HELP!

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

When an American leaves America, she is basically on her own. If this American lives with an American or foreign boyfriend or spouse, she is basically on her own. If this American is being abused by her American or foreign boyfriend or spouse, she is basically on her own. There are few resources to assist in foreign countries. There is ONLY ONE organization that assists worldwide, and that is the Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center.
There was NO assistance when the founder of this organization needed help. There was no one to advise her of her options when the founder needed that advice - not even her family could help. When she finally escaped a foreign country on her own, Paula decided to do something that had never been done before - help other American women and children who faced similar circumstances to her own. This organization is a Godsend to Americans everywhere. They inform the victim on many fronts and are sometimes able to get them home. They do this with little funding and careful planning and budgeting. Any financial help to this organization would be appreciated.

Read more
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Most amazing organization I've ever been involved with. I am proud to say I am part of their team!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am awed by the hard work, wealth of knowledge and generosity of spirit I see every day in my co-workers at AODVC. The diverse community we serve faces an array of challenges and our organization is often just about the only resource they can reach out to. We provide the kind of help that matters most to the survivors who contact us. We listen without judgment, and we provide direct concrete help whenever possible. Our director is a visionary and every individual employee adds a body of experience and perspective to create the most internationally DV/SA savvy staff in the world.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The staff at AODVC understands the range of issues affecting victims of Domestic Violence and survivors of sexual assaults abroad. They handle sensitive situations and often overwhelmed people, with respect, integrity and compassion. They help clients--male or female, American or spouse of an American-- who have been abused overseas, navigate complex situations in a way that is empathetic and empowering. It can feel like a ray of hope in an otherwise hopeless situation. DV is challenging in any case, but when a victim is isolated from support, and under laws that differ from the ones they are familiar with, it can be completely overwhelming. This agency is a Godsend.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The necessity of a one-of-a-kind organization which navigates uncharted entanglements of national and international policy where meet the lives, safety and personhood of women was revealed to me through the inconceivable survivor experiences of an old friend. He detailed his emigration from the UAE in a series of heartbreaking secrets he held distant from the happiness and smiles he seemed to have been born wearing. The harrowing escape from the UAE- from abuse, from policy which would not protect him- was unlike any of us had ever heard amongst the circle of friends.
To the uninitiated, these stories may seem rare: far from the realities we live and our contingent expectations of the world. These survivor stories are real, important and much more common than I had ever expected. The phone rings here with new clients daily who fear for their lives, for their children's lives. AODVC provides a depth of services few other organization take to charge. A non-profit that seeks to establish care, education, reform, attention, movement in a world otherwise deplete of options for women; AODVC is an organization I am proud to work with.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

From my experience working with AODVC, this organization is very knowledgeable and goes above and beyond to assist Americans living abroad who suffering from domestic violence.

2 lesliecollingridge

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As an outreach ambassador for the AODVC I have referred a number of women living outside of the U.S. and experiencing abuse. This is the only resource for these women, some of whom live in countries where there is little or no support for them as foreigners. The U.S. has laws protecting American women living in the U.S., and for non-U.S. nationals living in the States experiencing abuse - there is nothing that protects an American woman living outside of the U.S. The AODVC is a critical resource that does amazing work for women and children who desperately need their continued support.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was in the United States trying to fight a return order to Ireland. The AODVCC gave me support in many ways and although I still had to return to Ireland, I was fully prepared coming back and knew that if I needed help, they were there.

Stephanie70

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an amazing organization assisting Americans abroad in extremely difficult situations. I am honored to have witnessed such wonderful and dedicated volunteers and employess working for a much needed cause. The need for this organization grows daily. Thank you

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Thank you for an opportunity to rate this wonderful and much needed non-profit! There aren't any such organizations like this one oversees, that addresses the issues of verbal, physical, and emotional abuse, regarding US citizens living in foreign countries! We need this kind of solid support for those finding themselves in such isolated situations while living overseas. Paula Lucas, the founder of this organization, is a fantastic individual, who, after experiencing her own spousal abuse from her husband, while living in the Middle East, had to find her own way out of the situation--without help from any service or agency. Fortunately, for those who find themselves in such scenerios today, it is because of Ms. Lucus' harrowing experience, that they can seek aid and assistance from this well-run organization. Well-trained telephone counselors are on duty 24 hours a day! An individual experiencing spousal abuse, whether that person is female or male, can call for counseling, or financial assistance if they are needing to leave the abusive situation. Please support this non-profit organization! If you find yourself in need of more information or assistance, please call 503-203-1444! Dr. M. A. Humphrey-Keever

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

The founder, Paula Lucas, is an extraordinary person. Her story and her passion to assist other women and children that are going through what her family went through is very powerful and moving. AODVC serves a population that has no other national voice in this country, or around the world. US women and children overseas who are the victims of domestic violence often have many barriers to support and escape from the violence that is tearing apart their lives. The staff and volunteers are committed and smart, and are a lifeline to women and children who would otherwise often be out there on their own. I spent many years as a prosecutor, worked on legal reform in former Soviet countries and worked for the National Center for Victims of Crime, where I trained on the national level to prevent stalking, intimate partner violence and sexual assault. I am continually impressed and proud of the work that AODVC does supporting US women and children overseas in every way that they can.

Clare S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great organization to volunteer with. Everyone who works with AODVC is caring and commited, and the organization really goes out of its way to show its appreciation of its volunteers. The work is interesting and you definitely get the feeling you are providing a needed service that no other organization is providing.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

AODVC? Terrible place! Just kidding! 5 stars, and then some! AODVC is a unique organization driven by a smart, experienced, passionate bunch. This organization saves lives and creates pathways to safety and better life otherwise not available to this under served population. Services are implemented with kindness, respect, empathy, awareness and thoughtfulness. I am a case manager in the crisis office and leave work every day happy to have contributed to this entities on going and growing success.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center is doing what no other organization is doing: helping citizens of it's own country, who are experiencing abuse abroad, find safety and sometimes, get home. Without this hotline, survivors of violence would have to try and seek services abroad, in a second language, or, call a shelter at home, where employees wouldn't understand the complex international laws around custody and protocols. American survivors of violence abroad have a "home" at AODVC and it's incredible that this life line exists. The staff at AODVC work tirelessly and with great expertise everyday to do survivor centered work that empowers all.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

AODVCC is an amazing organization and a wonderful group of people! They are people who work tirelessly in a very difficult field to serve women and children who are in danger and who are otherwise often overlooked and ignored. The families who they are serving have no other resource like this - a caring group of professionals who are available 24/7 to answer calls and provide support, resources, and assurance that they are not alone. Domestic violence is a worldwide problem with very serious consequences, and this resource helps bring women and children to safety, saving lives and providing a path to a new life.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After I heard of the tremendous work being done at the Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center, I knew I needed to help contribute to the organization's cause. I have since been working to support their efforts through providing assistance to develop a supportive, sloutions-based program and executing marketing initiatives to expand company awareness. I commend the commitment and compassion exuded by the staff and volunteers toward helping those in need, since they all contribute more than what's expected of them to turn the efforts of a small non-profit into a global effort to end domestic violence. The amount of heart and passion exuded by the individuals in this organization is unimaginable. I hope they will continually be able to exceed their goals in saving lives, keeping families safe, and providing unwavering care.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center (AODVC). provides crucial crisis interventions services to Americans abused in foreign countries. It is the only organization of its kind in existance. Trained advocates and case managers help this underserved population of survivors navigate the complicated jurisdictional, legal and social international landscapes to help them break the cycle of abuse in their lives. It is a truly wonderful organization!

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center saved me and my kids from a very difficult situation outside the borders of the U.S. They used every resource in their power to safely return us back home safe and sound. Due to their advocacy, crisis hotline support and relocation funding, we are starting a new life filled with peace, tolerance and love. Without AODVCC, I would had never had the courage to make the right decision for myself and my children. Words cannot express the gratitude we will always have in our hearts for this agency. Thank you AODVCC, we will always remember for the rest of our lives your support and help. You are truly the best!

Donor

Rating: 5

I have given to this nonprofit as I am confident in their expertise and believe in their mission. They are able to do remarkable work with few resources.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a seasoned domestic violence advocate who is proud to be a part of AODVC. American women overseas in domestic violence situations often find themselves isolated in a dangerous situations and need somewhere to turn. This organization is unique and valuable to assist American DV victims with a wide range of issues. I believe in this organization.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Great organization - gave my sister great counsel to get out of a terrible situation when she was living abroad and afterward to help her stay safe.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The work that this charity does is extrememly beneficial to the entire world. As a volunteer, I always had something meaningful to do and was in an enviornment where people were supportive and willing to teach me. I felt as if I was actually in the action of the issues that strike women and children.

Board Member

Rating: 5

AODVC offers comprehensive services to American women experiencing domestic violence while living overseas. As a pediatrician living in the Netherlands for 6 years, I met women struggling in domestic violence situations and was pleased to find AODVC to recommend to them. On returning to live in the US, I've actively volunteered and helped to organize information/training sessions in countries around the world.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Great organization that really helps American women and their children who are stuck overseas.

Debbie33

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughters and I were stuck in Canada ( not overseas but still a foreign country). Since they were born in Canada and we had lived there since their birth I could not bring them back to the states without their father's permission. He refused because his mother wanted our oldest ( she was the one who assaulted me while i was holding the kids who were both under 2 yrs old). I was illegal because they refused to allow me to get my papers and had kept me isolated until i managed to get the three of us out of the house and to a shelter. I was stuck in Canada because of the Hague convention which is what makes taking a child from their natural residence to another country illegal. I had to get the courts permission and yet the Canadian government would only give me services for the kids leaving me with less then 150 a month to pay for food, diapers, formula and utilities. AODVCC were a life saver, they sent me money orders to buy food for the kids and when I finally won court approval they helped me get back to the states and since I choose to move to Oregon where they are located they were able to help me get started in being self sufficient. for the past 5 years i have been taking care of my kids and keeping them safe by myself only due to the fact that I had help getting started. They made a huge difference in my kids lives. They are both healthy and happy and safe. Without their help, i would not be sitting here in a nice townhouse listening to my girls outside playing and laughing.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the pleasure of volunteering for AODVC. I found the staff to be passionate and dedicated to helping domestic violence survivors living overseas. They help a unique group of people who would otherwise be left without any help or direction.

Debra19

Donor

Rating: 5

This organization has saved the lives of American women and their children that live overseas and are victims of domestic violence. There is no organization that does this as their mission, so it is important to support the incredible work they do.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My experience with this agency has been nothing but positive and I know that the staff there answering the lines and working to keep this organization alive work tirelessly. This is the only crisis line of it's kind in existence- one that assists citizens of it's country who are experiencing abuse abroad and I can tell by the number of clients that more resources like this one are needed. There are calls and emails everyday of people for whom no other organization or hotline would suit their needs. American men and women get to start their lives over again, free of abuse, because of this organization.

6

Board Member

Rating: 5

I helped build this organization from a grass roots effort to a more sustainable entity. The experience was challenging because of a general lack of understanding of the difficulties abused American women face in foreign countries.

7

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

I did an internship with the organization one summer answering the crisis line. I gained a lot of experience and learned a lot about international issues Americans face when they are overseas that most people don't know about.

8

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

Based off the work I did to benefit the organization, I was able to get an inside look on what the services provide for American woman and children around the world. They should be known world-wide for all the work they do, because it is incredible to hear the stories of all the survivors and how the executive director, Paula Lucas, and her team helped them.

6

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a unique organization - the only one in the world like it. It is the only resource for Americans living overseas who are being abused by a significant partner. This organization gives safety training, provides legal services and sometimes relocation services to those being abused.

8

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My friend married a foreign national and moved to a foreign country. She was isolated and abused by her husband. When the US embassy was not able to help her she did not know what to do. I found the American Domestic Voilence Crisis Line online and put my friend in touch with them. Thanks to them, she was back home and safe within a few months.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had first hand experience helping with information sessions and volunteer trainings, in the United States and Europe. The presentations were engaging and informative, and was an effective strategy to reach a globally dispersed population.

10

Donor

Rating: 4

In the 1960's, I lived in Latin America for 5 years. During my stay, I met, on more than one occasion, American women with children who were desperate to be counseled on how to move through this point in their lives. To be able to reach out and find such a resource is reassuring. To be helped by it, is empowering.

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a unique, one of a kind organization. The amount of help they are able to offer is truly a lifeline for American women abused overseas.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

The American Domestic Violence Crisis Line is representative of what outstanding nonprofits can achieve. They have opened my eyes to the far reaches of abuse and what can be done about it through their outreach services. I will be a lifetime donor.

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization opened my eyes to the demographics of those who are abused and trapped in a foreign country and how difficult it is to obtain assistance in these countries.