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.

Meet the Clinical Services Team!

From left to right:
Samantha Black, Jaquelynn Mueller, Chesnee Martin, Zach Wilson, Angie Shirley, and Heather Bennett

The Clinical Services team, led by Samantha Black, is comprised of Forensic Interviewers and Therapists who serve in a dual capacity.  They conduct forensic interviews at the request of Law Enforcement or DSS, provide video recording and written notes summarizing interview, participate in weekly case review, and testify as needed in court.  They are all certified by Child First, a forensic interview training program. In addition the staff is responsible for providing individual, family and group treatment to child and adult victims of sexual violence and their families.  Upon referral to the agency, therapist conduct an assessment and evaluate the appropriateness of the client for therapy services and will assess for risk.  Based on this initial assessment, therapist will either refer client for additional external services or develop an individualized treatment plan that is specific to the client’s needs using evidenced based counseling techniques and Animal Assisted Therapy.  Beyond Abuse is very fortunate to have such a talented team – please read below about each individual member!

Samantha Black

Samantha is the Clinical Services Manager at Beyond Abuse. She supervises the therapists and forensic interviewers while also providing therapy to child, adolescent, and adult victims of abuse. Samantha graduated with her B.A. from Presbyterian College and received her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from Richmont Graduate University in Atlanta, GA. She is rostered in the state of South Carolina with Project BEST to provide Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and is a trained forensic interviewer through ChildFirst. Samantha became a LPC in 2016 and is currently working on her LPC/S. Her hobbies include spending time with family, painting, and traveling.

Jaquelynn Mueller

Jacqui joined Beyond Abuse in 2018 as a therapist and forensic interviewer. She earned her BSSW (Bachelors of Science in Social Work) at Trevecca Nazarene University and her MMFT (Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy) at Converse College. Her focus is in providing clinical services to our Laurens office. She has a passion for helping families and especially enjoys teenagers. In her free time you will find her enjoying hockey games, practicing golf and guitar, and delighting in sweets. 

Chesnee Martin

Chesnee is a 2005 graduate of Claflin University in Orangeburg SC. Chesnee graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Criminal Justice. She received her Masters of Arts degree in Community Counseling from Webster University in 2011. Chesnee recently joined the agency in July 2018 and serves as a therapist. Prior to joining Beyond Abuse, Chesnee worked for the State of South Carolina Mental Health Department for 4 years. She enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and watching classical movies in her free time.

Zach Wilson

Zach graduated from Lander University in 2015 with a B.S. in psychology and from Augusta University in 2017 with an M.S. in clinical psychology. His primary role is to conduct forensic interviews where there is a suspicion of child physical or sexual abuse, although he also does therapy with children and adult victims of abuse. Additionally, Zach teaches as an adjunct faculty member in the Psychological Sciences department at Lander University. In his spare time, he enjoys long walks at the park with his miniature schnauzer, Kirby.

Angie Shirley

Angie began working as a part-time therapist at Beyond Abuse in 2012. She provides treatment services to adult and teenage victims of sexual abuse/sexual assault as well as Protection Clarification Therapy to non-offending caregivers of child victims. Angie enjoys facilitating a treatment group at Leath Correctional Institution. She received a B.A. in Psychology from Winthrop University and a Master of Social Work from the University of South Carolina. Angie loves reading, cooking and spending time with her family, including her Yorkie, “Louie.”

Heather Bennett

Heather graduated from Anderson University with a BA in Psychology and from Winthrop University with a Master’s in Education in Counseling. Heather is trained in Child First and is a Licensed Professional Counselor. Her primary role is to conduct forensic interviews where there is an allegation of child physical or sexual abuse, although she also does therapy with children and adult victims of abuse.

National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day (L.E.A.D.)

In celebration of National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day and as a small token of appreciation for their service and support, Beyond Abuse staff delivered a few treats to each Law Enforcement agency in the service area. These men and women make providing care and protection possible for our community and individuals who have been victims of sexual abuse. Join us in thanking Law Enforcement officers and support staff!

P.S. We didn’t forget about Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office, Greenwood Police Department, and Abbeville County Sheriff’s Office – they were busy fighting crime!

Laurens City Police Department
Laurens County Sheriff’s Office
Abbeville City Police Department
Clinton City Police Department
8th Circuit Solicitor’s Office – Laurens County

Eaton Employees donate comfort blankets

A big shout out to Eaton for collecting “comfort care” blankets for the children who receive services at the agency.

Accepting the blankets for the agency is Alison Romagnoli, Beyond Abuse’s Director Finance.

A Thank you to outgoing Board Members

Beyond Abuse said farewell to 4 board members at the December 2018 meeting of the Board of Directors.  These dedicated members served three 2 year terms for a combined 24 years of service to the agency!  Thank you all for your support in fulfilling our mission to “move our community beyond sexual violence and child abuse…”.  We will miss you all!

Pictured below: Cathy Miller, Executive Director, Wilson Bruce, Vice President, and outgoing board members Andrew Hodges, Brent Parris, and Anthony Kidd.  not pictured is Fran Human.

AAT meet and greet with Solicitor’s office Dec 2018

Members of Beyond Abuse’s Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) team recently visited the 8th Circuit Solicitor’s office as part of the agency’s program to address and minimize the impact that secondary trauma has on persons working with victims of child abuse and sexual assault.

Per the National Child Traumatic Stress Network:

“Secondary traumatic stress is the emotional duress that results when an individual hears about the firsthand trauma experiences of another……. For therapists, child welfare workers, case managers, and other helping professionals involved in the care of traumatized children and their families, the essential act of listening to trauma stories may take an emotional toll that compromises professional functioning and diminishes quality of life. Individual and supervisory awareness of the effects of this indirect trauma exposure is a basic part of protecting the health of the worker and ensuring that children consistently receive the best possible care from those who are committed to helping them.”

For more information on Beyond Abuse’s AAT program, call 864-227-1623


Holiday Office Hours

Beyond Abuse will close at 2 pm on Friday December 21 and will re-open on Wednesday January 2, 2019 at 8am.

We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


***  Beyond Abuse’s 24 hour hotline number:  864-227-1623     ***

Merry Christmas from the Staff at Beyond Abuse

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  During the last 12 months, this amazing group of professionals has served over 400 victims of child abuse and sexual assault in our service area!!!