Avalon is the regional state-recognized, -funded and -accredited agency for domestic violence and sexual assault, including rape and human trafficking.
We serve some 600 people a year in Williamsburg, James City County, York County, Poquoson, New Kent, West Point and Charles City, as well as the Middle Peninsula of Gloucester, Mathews, Middlesex, King and Queen and King William Counties.
The professional staff of Avalon Center includes six credentialed counselors, including a dedicated children's counselor and a high-risk counselor specifically for rape and human trafficking survivors. The Avalon Center campus houses about 50 people and provides onsite professional counseling and life skills education. Through the Outreach Office, Avalon Center provides programs for youth and adults including individual and group counseling, and supervised visitation and custody exchange.
Avalon Center works to end domestic and sexual violence by breaking the cycle of abuse through prevention, education, shelter and support services in the Williamsburg area.
Avalon Center envisions an aware community that works together to promote healthy relationships and to end domestic and sexual violence.
Our Guiding Principles
- We work to empower survivors.
- We provide research-based, best practices in our work.
- We have highly trained, trauma-informed staff that offers voluntary services.
- We make the most of available resources through careful stewardship of gifts and grants, and through collaboration and partnerships with other organizations.
- We are an example of excellence for other domestic and sexual violence programs in our state and nation.
- We provide services to all impacted individuals regardless of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, creed, or religion.
In 1978, a study group of local women concerned about violence against women began a task force to study the issue and conduct a needs assessment. It's first location was in the basement of St. Stephen Lutheran Church. Avalon’s first service, the Helpline, began in 1980 and was answered in the basement of the local United Methodist Church.
Avalon was originally known as the Williamsburg Task Force on Battered Women. The WTFBW was incorporated in December 1980, and appointed a director. The organization was certified as a tax-exempt, non-profit organization.
Shelter was first provided through a series of safe homes in the community. Twenty victims were served the first year. As the demand for services grew, a two-bedroom home off Ironbound Road was leased in 1983. One bedroom served as an office for administrative work and answering the Helpline. The shelter and Helpline were staffed primarily by volunteers and part-time staff. The WTFBW became a sexual assault crisis center in 1985.
In 1985 the current 5-acre site was purchased and the existing house became the four-bedroom, 16-bed shelter. An apartment in a converted garage became a one-bedroom transitional apartment. The rest of the space was used as an administrative offices.
The name of the WTFBW was changed to Avalon: A Center for Women and Children in 1990.
As more services were provided and the existing shelter’s ability to provide safe, secure shelter lessened, the Board of Directors approved a plan to embark on a campaign to raise funds to build a new emergency shelter and six apartments. The Capital Campaign formally began in 1994. The first formal fundraiser was done by the area realtors.
Construction of the project began in March 1998.
Two months later, an Outreach Office on Richmond Road was opened and financed by a grant from Bruton Parish Church. During construction of the new project, the staff relocated to the Outreach Office. Shelter residents were moved to the newly constructed emergency shelter December 23, 1998. Less than 24-hours later, an ice storm closed the shelter and residents were relocated to a temporary shelter. In February 1999, renovation of the administrative office was completed and the first family occupied one of the six apartments.
With a shelter and six extended-stay apartments in place and a busy community outreach office, Avalon serves as the resource for Greater Williamsburg survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and sex trafficking. Avalon has formal partnerships with the College of William & Mary, local departments of social services, schools, police, Bacon Street and a many other agencies. Avalon participates on the local Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) and provides advocates for hospital and court accompaniment.
By focusing on providing trauma-informed, survivor-led, self-sufficiency based services; Avalon helps break the cycle of abuse and creates a positive future for about 600 women, men and children in the Williamsburg area every year.
In 2016, Avalon: A Center for Women and Children begins using the name: Avalon Center.