Silent Tears on Wednesday announced a third round of grants totaling more than $1.1 million to organizations statewide that assist victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and abuse, with a goal of an additional $1 million to be granted by year-end.
Six years ago, Silent Tears formed to systematically address the complex issues associated with child sexual abuse – considering best practices, the fragmented support system for victims, the culture and politics of South Carolina, and a lack of attention on the issue.
In April, Silent Tears announced a $5 million gift from the Castellani family of Greer. The commitment is funding a second phase of support for organizations that promote an end to child abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence across South Carolina. This funding includes the 17 Children’s Advocacy Centers of S.C., 15 rape crisis centers, 12 domestic violence centers and 2 facilities for children impacted by maltreatment. With this third round of grants, more than $2.4 million has been gifted to-date.
“While these grants serve as significant aid to our communities’ centers, they are still small in comparison to the need, especially in the under-served and rural parts of our state,” Silent Tears director of philanthropy Kelly Nichols said. “These gifts are intended to ignite awareness and accountability of the issues in our communities, and there should be no stereotype of who should help due to an underlying stigma.”

Beyond Abuse received 63,000. Thank you, Silent Tears!

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

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!!!


Spooktacular Night of Music

Join us next Thursday, October 25th for a night of free music at Howard’s On Main! Grab a friend, come say hello, and enjoy the cool weather!

Staff attend training with focus on LGBTQ survivors

SCCADVASA’s Nyomi Guzman, Prevention & Inclusion Specialist and Cory France, Communications Coordinator recently conducted onsite training for Beyond Abuse staff, volunteers, and interns on providing best practice and inclusive services to LGBTQ+ Survivors of sexual assault.  During the training attendees participated in open discussion and activities to introduce appropriate pronouns and terminology.
Pictured L to R: Christine Watson, Carmen Pendergrass, Nyomi Guzman, Cory France, Amber Glasl, Elizabeth Wise, Jeannie Capps, Shakema Smith, Connie Dunlap, and Letha Davis
Not pictured but also attended: Katelen Barger and Elaine Morton

Volunteer Training scheduled for June 2018

Please contact Elizabeth Wise, Victim Services Manager at 864 227 1623 or email ewise@beyondabuse.info to register for Beyond Abuse’s next Volunteer training class which will be held  June 11, 12, 13, 18, 19.  This is a 25 hour certification program with 15 hours of class room instruction and 10 hours of online training.









March 2018 Volunteer Training – Graduates

Congrats to our latest class of graduates who completed a rigorous 25 hour training curriculum in order to provide service and support to victims of child abuse and sexual assault.   Thank you all!


L to R: Candice Cawood, Chris Frontera, Melissa Macias, Sarah Gibson

Child Abuse Prevention article – shared from Childhelp.org website

Child Abuse Prevention

Each day more than five children die as a result of abuse or neglect. On average, a child abuse report is made every 10 seconds for a total of approximately 3.3 million child abuse reports annually. Childhelp has developed the following child abuse prevention guidelines to help keep your child, or a child you care for, from becoming a statistic.

Child Abuse Prevention Guidelines

  • Never discipline your child when your anger is out of control.
  • Participate in your child’s activities and get to know your child’s friends.
  • Never leave your child unattended, especially in the car.
  • Teach your child to use their voice to allow them to prevent abuse in their own life.
  • Ask questions; for example, when your child tells you he or she doesn’t want to be with someone, this could be a red flag.
  • Listen to them and believe what they say.
  • Be aware of changes in your child’s behavior or attitude and inquire into it.
  • Teach your child what to do if you and your child become separated while away from home.
  • Teach your child the correct names of his/her private body parts.
  • Be alert for any talk that reveals premature sexual understanding.
  • Pay attention when someone shows greater than normal interest in your child.
  • Make certain your child’s school or day care center will release him/her only to you or someone you officially designate.

To learn more about child abuse prevention, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD® (1-800-422-4453). The 24/7 hotline is staffed with professional counselors who offer information about child abuse prevention as well as crisis intervention, literature and referrals to thousands of emergency, social service and support resources.

  • This article was shared from the Childhelp.org website

You may also contact Beyond Abuse – your local Children’s Advocacy Center – 864 227 1623