Origins & History
BCS began in 1996 with support from The Ford Foundation. The initial goal was to build the capacity of advocates to better respond to the new and increasing demand for collaboration and policy advocacy. The complex range of issues for victims living in poverty was an early priority.
BCS co-founders were Susan Schechter (University of Iowa), Anne Menard (National Resource Center on Domestic Violence), and Jill Davies (Greater Hartford Legal Aid).
Susan Schechter (1946-2004) was a visionary founder of the movement to end violence against women and children. As the director of BCS, she identified the collaboration and policy challenges facing the field and guided the early work to address them. Her spirit, expansive and cross-disciplinary thinking, and core advocacy values are reflected in today’s BCS.
A respected leader and thinker in the field, perhaps Susan’s most significant and enduring contribution was her pathbreaking and persistent effort to help the children of battered women. Her analysis, writing, advocacy, and speeches played a major role in shaping current policy and practice regarding family violence and children. On a less public but no less significant stage, Susan was a remarkable person, thoughtful and good-hearted; many individuals from diverse fields were fortunate to call her a mentor and friend.
Susan’s vision lives on in BCS and in the “Susan Schechter Leadership Development Fellowship."
Jill Davies, as BCS director, guides content and works collaboratively with NRCDV staff to provide analysis and advocacy resources. Attorney Davies is the deputy director of Greater Hartford Legal Aid. She has written and consulted extensively on violence against women, advocacy and safety planning, poverty, and legal issues. One aspect of her work is the conception and continued development of the “victim-defined” approach to advocacy, a nationally recognized best practice. The promotion of this approach is the mission of BCS. The author of numerous articles and materials regarding violence against women, she is co-author of the book, Safety Planning with Battered Women: Complex Lives/Difficult Choices, Sage Publications, 1998, and the second edition of the book, Domestic Violence Advocacy: Complex Lives/Difficult Choices, Sage Publications, 2013.