History of Avenues

AVENUES opened its doors in December of 1989 as a safe emergency shelter for abused women and their children.  As AVENUES awareness of the complexity of domestic and sexual violence issues has grown, the agency has responded by developing additional services.  Both residential and non-residential services have expanded to include both domestic and sexual violence survivor services in all areas.

A sexual assault advocacy program was added as a separate program in 1996.  The program struggled and was finally disbanded in the summer of 1998. By January, 1999 an executive director and an advocate were hired and brought considerable experience in sexual assault advocacy.  The structure of the agency was adjusted to be inclusive of sexual violence at all levels.  At this time, sexual assault advocacy is not a separate program, but is an integral part of the type of advocacy provide by AVENUES. ALL AVENUES staff and volunteers are trained to provide both domestic and sexual violence advocacy and crisis intervention services.  Sexual assault services are provided for anyone who has been a victim or who is providing support to a victim, although the vast majority are women and children.

Beginning in January, 1999, all staff and volunteers were re-trained and completed 55 hours of training in domestic and sexual violence advocacy.

In October 1999, AVENUES secured VOCA funding that developed a rural advocacy program designed to provide non-residential advocacy (domestic and sexual violence) services in the counties in which women live.  The development of this position increased communication between AVENUES and various agencies, particularly the criminal justice system, and emergency medical services.  AVENUES provides non-residential services for victims of any age and non-offending support persons for victims.

Between 2000 and 2002, AVENUES established a series of satellite offices with a mission of providing localized services to victims who were otherwise geographically or socially isolated from receiving services. The current structure of AVENUES includes AVENUES Central, non-residential advocacy for Marion County and residential emergency shelter for the entire service area, and the three non-residential local

Offices: AVENUES Main (Marion County), AVENUES North (Lewis and Clark Counties), AVENUES South (Pike and Ralls Counties), and AVENUES West (Shelby and Monroe Counties).

Current AVENUES services include a secure and safe emergency shelter for women and their children; 24-hour hotline; court advocacy that assists victims with obtaining ex-parte orders of protection, provides support and accompaniment for full order (OP) hearings and other civil court hearings; individual criminal justice advocacy (for reporting and prosecution of criminal cases); emergency medical advocacy; domestic violence peer support groups; support group for adult survivors of child sexual abuse; community education; peer counseling; crisis intervention;  professional training for medical, criminal justice, mental health, and social services; client transportation to other agencies; institutional advocacy; and a large networking system to compliment the services provided by AVENUES.  The Rural Advocacy Project provides all listed services with the exception of shelter.  Women seeking shelter are referred to the Hannibal location, and transportation is provided as needed.

AVENUES is a member of the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.


The triangle above the word AVENUES represents the three sides of human nature: physical, mental and spiritual.  It is drawn with a rough hand drawn line to suggest movement and change that is crucial for client growth.  The represents change in the physical, mental and spiritual life of the women coming to AVENUES.  The font representing AVENUES says that AVENUES is straight forward, honest and clear when dealing with issues that are difficult, complex and emotional.