VSP Graduates

Beyond Abuse is happy to announce that 6 staff members recently completed the intensive Victim Service Provider (VSP) training hosted by SCCAVASA.  VSP is an interactive learning experience for victim service professionals to gain skills such as strengths-based services, advocacy for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and collaboration with allies. 

Congrats to the following: 

Jacqui Mueller, Claire Wieters, Chesnee Martin, and Angie Shirley

not present for photo: Samantha Black, Courtney Steward

Quarterly Staff Meeting

On Friday, staff members took advantage of a beautiful day to visit the Grace Street Park for their quarterly staff meeting which focuses on team building and self care for secondary trauma. This year’s team building was an old fashion egg relay race around the pond!

Jessica Bell awarded the BEST of Project BEST Award

Client Services Director, Jessica Bell, was awarded the BEST of Project BEST Award at the 8th Annual Project BEST Fest on March 15, 2019. This award is given for outstanding efforts and dedicated services in implementing and sustaining trauma-informed evidenced-based practices for children and their families in South Carolina. Project BEST is a state-wide collaborative effort to use innovative community-based dissemination, training, and implementation methods to dramatically increase the capacity of every community in South Carolina to deliver evidence-supported mental health treatments (ESTs) to every abused and traumatized child who needs them. 


Jessica Drobnick (left) with Dee Norton CAC presents the award to Jessica Bell (right) of Beyond Abuse 

Color for a Cause Winners!

We nailed it!  

On March 5th Beyond Abuse, along with 13 other community organizations, participated in the 3rd Annual Color for a Cause event hosted by the Greenwood Mall.  Organizations participated in two categories: judges choice, based on best coloring and shoppers choice.  Beyond Abuse’s amazing  staff (many with children in tow), volunteers, and Board members participated in this fun family event and took home the $250 prize donation for the Judges Choice Coloring contest.  Thank you to everyone who came out and showed their support for our wonderful cause and helped us bring home the win!

Cub Scout Service Project

Local Lion Cub Scout from Cub Scout Pack 921 in Greenwood, Peyton Wise (6), chose to collect toys, books, and games for abused children at Beyond Abuse for his Pick My Path Advancement service project.   Peyton created a sign to help promote his project and posted it on social media which caught the attention of the staff at Piedmont Technical College and the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office.  Over the past month PTC’s Human Services Club led by Brittany Aga and the Director of Victim Services at Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office, Catie Maffett, collected items for the service project which also included clothes, stuffed animals, & cleaning supplies.


Pictured L to R: – Elizabeth Wise, Den Leader; Alison Romagnoli, Director of Finance & HR; Peyton Wise, Lion Cub Scout; and Brittany Aga, PTC Professor of Human Services

Laurens City Police Department Receives Sexual Assault Training

On Tuesday, 2/19 and Thursday, 2/21 Laurens County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) conducted a Sexual Assault Response training for the Laurens Police Department Uniform Patrol Officers, Investigators, and Student Resource Officers.  During this training Laurens County SART members from Laurens City Police Department, SC Attorney General’s Office, PRISMA Health-Upstate, and Beyond Abuse presented information to attendees on responding to and providing best practice services to sexual assault victims in the front line.   The training was accredited through the SC Attorney General’s Office & the SC Criminal Justice Academy so that attendees could receive continuing education credits.  This training is a pilot training that our Laurens County SART hopes to grow and provide across the state to other Law Enforcement agencies and SART Teams.  If you are interested in joining our SART please contact Elizabeth Wise, SART Coordinator, at 864-227-1623 or laurenscountysart@gmail.com for more details and to apply.

Members of the Laurens County SART include:


8th Circuit Solicitor’s Office – David Stumbo, Solicitor

8th Circuit Solicitor’s Office – Cam Marrow, Assistant Solicitor

8th Circuit Solicitor’s Office – Joey Pittman, Investigator

8th Circuit Solicitor’s Office – Rhetta Christian, Victims Advocate

Beyond Abuse – Elizabeth Wise, Victim Services Manager (SART Coordinator)

City of Clinton Police Department – Julia Mercer, Patrol Officer

Laurens City Police Department – Lt. JC Brewington, Investigator

Laurens County Sheriff’s Office – Jared Hunnicutt, Investigator

Laurens County Sheriff’s Office – Michael Polson, Investigator

PRISMA Health-Upstate – Ellen Kennedy, RN-BSN, SANE Coordinator

SC Attorney General’s Office – Shannon Palm, VAWA Coordinator


Meet the Advocates!

From left to right:
Deanna Kelly, Maria Roman, Elizabeth Wise, Courtney Steward, and Elaine Morton

Elizabeth Wise

Elizabeth is the Victim Services Manager at Beyond Abuse and has been with the agency since November 2011.  She supervises the Client Services Administrator/Specialist and Volunteers while also providing 24/7 crisis support and advocacy to adult and child victims of sexual assault.  She received her Bachelors of Science Degree in Psychology with Emphasis in Counseling form Lander University in December 2006.  She is passionate about her work because survivors need someone who will believe, support, and validate their experience.  In her free time, she enjoys reading, coloring, and spending time with her husband (Jason), son (Peyton), and two dogs (Kyro and Ryder).

Elaine Morton

Elaine is the Client Services Administrator at Beyond Abuse in our Greenwood office and has been with the agency since December 2014.  She provides intake and crisis support to survivors and their families, and is the face of the agency that greets clients, partnering agencies, and supporters as they come into the agency.  Prior to working here she was an on-call volunteer advocate and client services advocate with the agency, providing support services to victims of sexual assault and child abuse.  She is passionate about her work because she gets to witness the children we serve grow and move forward in their healing.  In her free time, she enjoys watching movies, dancing, and being outdoors.

Courtney Steward

Courtney is the Client Services Specialist at Beyond Abuse in our Laurens office and has been with the agency since May 2018.  She provides intake and crisis support to survivors and their families, and is the face of the agency that greets clients, partnering agencies, and supporters as they come into the agency.  Prior to being hired she was an on-call volunteer advocate with the agency, providing support services to victims of sexual assault and child abuse.  She received her Bachelors of Science Degree in Psychology from Lander University in May 2018.  She is passionate about her work because she gets to help everyone the best way she can.  In her free time, she enjoys eating, traveling, reading, writing, and dancing.

Maria Roman

Maria is a Bilingual Family Advocate at Beyond Abuse and has been with the agency since January 2017.  She assists families as their children are referred in for services through our Children’s Advocacy Center.  She received her Associates of Applied Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Piedmont Technical College is 2014 and is currently working on her Nursing Degree at Piedmont Technical College.  She is passionate about her work because she loves helping others.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family.

Deanna Kelly

Deanna is a Family Advocate at Beyond Abuse in our Laurens office and has been with the agency since November 2016.  She assists families as their children are referred in for services through our Children’s Advocacy Center.  She received her Associate in Arts Degree in Criminal Justice from Augusta Technical College and her Bachelors Degree in Public Administration at Brenau University in Gainesville, GA.  She is passionate about her work because she loves working with children on a daily basis.  In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors.

January Volunteer Graduates

Over the last two weeks, new volunteers, staff, and board members participated in our 27.5 hour volunteer training program. The training consists of 15 hours in-class training and an additional 12.5 hours of online training.
The training gives new volunteers, interns, staff, and board members a look into the ins and outs of the organization and prepares them for providing support and advocacy to victims and survivors of sexual assault and child abuse.

Please join us in congratulating them for their hard work and willingness to serve the individuals of our community!


Pictured L to R: Elizabeth Wise (Victim Services Manager), Jeremiah Grooms (Education Specialist), Stephanie Carter (New BOD/Volunteer), Callie Scragg (New Volunteer/Intern), Allie Payne (New Volunteer/Intern), and Ivy Davis (New Volunteer )

Others that attended during portions of the training but are not pictured are:
Barry Putnam – new board member
Mary Haigler – new board member
Letha Davis – seasoned volunteer

Board of Directors New 2019 Members

Beyond Abuse proudly announces the appointment of seven new members to its Board of Directors for the two year term beginning January 2019!

Sherri Gordon, Barry Putnam, Dr. Mary Haigler, Stephanie Carter, Rhonda Cox, Elizabeth Taylor, and Chelsey Steifle will join 6 other members of the Board to provide governance and oversight to the agency which provides support and services to victims of child abuse and sexual assault in Greenwood, Laurens, and Abbeville Counties. 

front: Lisa Tolbert (Board President), Chelsey Steifle, Rhonda Cox, Sherri Gordon, Dr. Leslie Meyers, and Elizabeth Taylor
back: Outgoing board member Anthony Kidd, Dr. Mary Haigler, Stephanie Carter, outgoing board member Brent Paris, Barry Putnam, David Harrison, and Wilson Bruce
absent: Tracy Delander and Debbie Walling.