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!
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.
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.
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.