Responding to Gender-Based Violence

Women march outside the King County courthouse with protest signs demanding an end to domestic violenceIn 1989, City of Seattle Resolution 27940 directed the Office for Women's Rights to conduct a needs assessment and a plan for combatting domestic violence.  In the same year, Ordinance 114547 established an "Abused Women's Shelter Fund" to support community-based programming for survivors of domestic violence.  Since our inception in 1989, the HSD Mayor's Office on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (MODVSA) has been charged with leading the City of Seattle's response to Gender-Based Violence and has expanded beyond domestic violence to include sexual assault, human trafficking, and other crimes of coercive control.

The MODVSA serves as a funder, a community partner, a convener, and a thought leader. As a funder, the office invests more than $9 million annually in efforts to prevent, intervene, coordinate, and hold offenders accountable. Investment and Contracts staff plan investments and fund nonprofit agencies to provide community-based advocacy services.

Our key partners include over 35 nonprofits, public agencies, hospitals, coalitions, and universities. Annually, our contracted partners provide services to more than 10,000 survivors and their families.    

MODVSA works with HSD's Crime Survivor Services (CSS) team to provides systems-based advocacy services, and the teams work together in cross-departmental and regional response efforts, which include:

  • After hours cell phone
  • Batterer intervention
  • Legal assistance
  • Mobile advocacy and flexible client assistance
  • Outreach and education
  • Prevention
  • Seattle Criminal Justice Committee
  • Shelter and transitional housing
  • Systems enhancement  

As a convener, MODVSA is a leader in building up our area's regional response network as coordinators of the Day One Program and the Peace in the Home Helpline. MODVSA staff also work to convene several stakeholder groups on a monthly, bi-monthly, and quarterly basis.

As a thought leader, MODVSA's Planning and Data staff lead research, development and strategic planning efforts to identify national best and promising practice models for City of Seattle implementation.  One such project is the Domestic Violence Intervention Project (DVIP), a pilot project for a client-centered and multidisciplinary team response approach to court-mandated batterer intervention.  

MODVSA also works closely with regional partners to host public awareness events during the year: HSD's team of participants gathers for photo with Seattle Mariners mascot

  • January - Human Trafficking Awareness Month
  • April - Sexual Assault Awareness Month & Denim Day
  • July - WA State Coalition Against Domestic Violence 5K
  • September - Domestic Violence Symposium Co-Sponsorship
  • October - Domestic Violence Awareness Month & #PurpleThursdays

In 2019, the team organized a #DenimDay educational panel to amplify voices of indigenous women who are leading change for survivors. They also hosted speakers and a discussion on the importance of addressing racism, healing trauma that African American men and boys have themselves experienced, and bringing communities together to protect African American women and girls. And they expanded recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month by recruiting City staff and the Columbia Center to participate in #PurpleThursday.