History

The Verde Valley Sanctuary (VVS) began 28 years ago as a grassroots organization of women who were concerned about domestic violence in our community. The original group of volunteers began taking crisis calls in their homes and transporting victims of abuse to the nearest shelters 50+ miles away in Flagstaff, Prescott, and Phoenix.

Thanks to generous donations from the community, VVS opened the first and only domestic violence shelter in the Verde Valley region in 1994 with a leased modular home that slept six. Since then, VVS has strategically expanded and now offers comprehensive services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.

Mission

Our mission is to enhance the safety of, and increase services for, survivors of sexual and domestic violence and end additional abuse through community education.

Impact

In Fiscal Year 2020/2021, the Verde Valley Sanctuary provided services to over 2,300 survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. VVS also provided prevention education for 207 youth.

Free Services

  • 28-Bed Emergency Shelter 24/7/365: …………………..(928) 634-2511
  • Legal Advocacy Center: ……………………………………...(928) 639-2079
  • Outreach Center: ……………………………………………….(928) 634-6255
  • Youth Empowerment Services (YES) Program: …….(928) 634-6255
  • Weekly Domestic Violence Support Groups: ……….(928) 634-6255
  • Crisis Helpline 24/7/365: ……………………………………..(928) 634-2511
  • Community Education: ……………………………………….(928) 282-2755

Shelter

The 28-bed shelter provides 24/7 trauma-informed care for clients for up to four months. On-site advocates provide safety planning, support groups, case management, intensive advocacy, support programs and activities for children who reside in the shelter, transportation, self-care support, emotional support, and education about domestic violence and sexual assault.

Additionally, advocates help survivors assess their needs, identify their options, find resources, apply for jobs, set goals, locate permanent housing, and navigate the legal system. Services also include referrals to medical, mental, and emotional health providers and other community resources.

Outreach Center

Outreach advocates assist clients in a trauma-informed environment. Advocates provide safety planning, support groups, case management, intensive advocacy, transportation, self-care support, emotional support, and education about domestic violence and sexual assault.

Additionally, advocates help survivors assess their needs, identify their options, find resources, apply for jobs, set goals, and address housing issues. Services also include referrals to medical, mental, and emotional health providers and other community resources.

Youth Empowerment Services (YES) Program

The YES Program empowers students to make positive choices. We believe in starting early and investing in prevention strategies that promote healthy parent-child relationships, friendships, and dating relationships. Our YES program equips young people with the skills to resist violence and abuse.

Staff provide classroom trainings in nine (9) schools in Cottonwood, Camp Verde, and Rimrock. The students are eager to learn and are invested in the presentations and conversations. Presenters encourage youth input; it is a genuinely a participative experience.

Legal Advocacy Center

The court process can be very challenging, even for those who have experience in court. Survivors may face a number of legal issues that directly stem from, or are complicated by, the actions of those who use abuse and violence.

Our lay-legal advocates provide trauma-informed assistance and support to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking as they engage with legal system. These services primarily focus on assisting clients with obtaining Orders of Protection, Injunctions against Harassment, or pursuing divorce (known as Dissolution in the State of Arizona,) and custody issues (known as Legal Decision Making in the State of Arizona.)

Legal advocates are also available to provide emotional support for survivors at court proceedings. Our advocates do not act as attorneys and are not able to provide legal advice; however, they ​can guide survivors through the Self Help Center on the Yavapai Superior Court website.  Legal advocates also provide supportive services and referrals for additional community support.

Desert Rose Court [Transitional Housing]

VVS now provides a new 6-unit transitional housing complex, a residency program that includes support services.

Transitional housing is designed as a bridge to self-sufficiency and permanent housing, and it is usually provided after crisis or emergency shelter. Residents reside from six months to two years, and they are required to establish goals to work towards economic stability.

The need for safe, affordable housing for victims of domestic violence is well documented. Without access to housing options, women fleeing from abusive relationships are often forced to live in substandard conditions or return to their batterers. While many battered women need only short-term, emergency shelter, others face numerous barriers to achieving independence free from the abuse and require long-term housing assistance and a variety of support services.

A Bold and Ambitious Vision

The Sanctuary’s vision is to renovate, sustain, and expand services with five distinct phases.

Phase 1: Achieved April 2020: Renovate the Shelter building and provide on-site pet kennels. Cost: $250,000.

Phase 2: Pay Off Mortgages for Step-Up Housing Complex & Camp Verde Thriftique: Pay off mortgages for a pet-friendly affordable housing complex and the Camp Verde Thriftique to increase sustainability. Cost: $1,000,000.

Phase 3: Expand the pet-friendly emergency Shelter facility to include: individual bedrooms for highly traumatized clients, advocacy-based counseling group room, and expansion of pet-friendly kennels. Cost: $3,000,000.

Phase 4: Obtain One-Stop Center for all services including advocacy-based counseling and safety planning, legal advocacy, and community-wide education and prevention programs. Cost: $1,500,000.

Phase 5: Increase access to affordable housing. Build tiny homes for clients who need time to prepare for successful independent living. Cost: Under advisement

For more information or to make a donation, contact Community Development Director Tracey McConnell at (928) 282-2755, tracey@verdevalleysanctuary.org.