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About Us

Mission | History | Project Information | Staff | Contact Information


The mission of the Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse (MINCAVA) is to support research, education, and access to violence related resources.

For more information about the mission and focus of MINCAVA, consider reviewing some of these materials:


The Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse was established in 1994 by the Minnesota State Legislature with a charge "to improve the quality of higher education related to violence." During its first years, the Center's initial and only project was the Violence Education Project. The project included a discipline-specific needs assessment about higher education, a web- based library of educational resources, a grant program to fund the development of new violence-related higher education curricula, higher education conferences, and worked to change continuing education and licensing requirements.

Now in its 19th year, the Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse (MINCAVA) is a leader in innovative violence-related education, research, and Internet publishing. Professional and student staff at MINCAVA conduct original research, develop extensive collections of translational research materials, provide higher education on family violence prevention, and disseminate information globally. MINCAVA staff work on projects often funded by federal, state, and foundation sources in collaboration with national and global advisory, as well as local community-based and national advocacy organizations. The Center staff operate multiple project-specific websites and one large-scale, electronic clearinghouse on violence prevention that receives millions of unique visits each year from users across the globe.


Amy Nord, Graduate Assistant

Amy earned her BA from St. Cloud State University and MSEd from UW-La Crosse in Higher Education. She comes to Minnesota from the great state of Wisconsin, where she worked at UW-Stout since 2001. Amy spent three years in the University Counseling Center providing direct advocate services to student victims of sexual assault, dating violence and stalking. Amy has specialized training in threat assessment within DV and stalking cases. She has work experience as a mental health/AODA crisis worker, assessing for suicidality and crisis.

Amy's special project at MINCAVA is managing the Electronic Clearinghouse. At the U, Amy is pursuing an MSW in clinical social work. Professional interest areas include: college students with severe and persistent mental illnesses, working with girls and women, and AODA-related issues.

Elizabeth Cutter-Wilson, Document Development Coordinator

Elizabeth Cutter-Wilson is social worker who has worked at MINCAVA since 2010. In her roles at MINCAVA Elizabeth has studied and researched many subjects related to violence against women and has focused primarily on applied research. She has written and edited many documents regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking, and teen dating violence. She has provided trainings to the advocate, college, and high school communities on intervention and prevention work in violence against women

Elizabeth has over 10 years experience working in domestic violence. Elizabeth's experience in domestic violence is broad in nature. While in college she worked as a domestic abuse advocate, conducted intakes for shelters, and domestic violence services. She completed her Masters in Social Work at the University of Wisconsin, Madison where she focused on the mental health outcomes of violence, with a primary focus on PTSD. Following graduate school Elizabeth completed a LEAH fellowship at the Harvard Medical School and the Children's Hospital of Boston. As a LEAH fellow she provided clinical services to family and children experiencing family and relationship violence and conducted research regarding intervention and prevention strategies in relationship violence.

Jennifer Witt, MSW - Associate Director

Jennifer Witt has worked at MINCAVA since 2002 and has been the Center’s Associate Director since 2006. Her current professional experiences include teaching specialized content on intervention and prevention of violence against women and children at the University of Minnesota, developing and managing national applied research projects focused on ensuring that the practice community has access to high quality, usable research materials, and developing national online education initiatives on violence against women. She has over 17 years of experience working to intervene and prevent domestic and sexual violence and her past professional experiences include both direct practice advocacy as well as systems advocacy, organizing, and specialized training and education. She has a Masters of Social Work from the University of Minnesota and a B.S. in sociology from the University of WI-LaCrosse. Jennifer has also worked on various community organizing and public education projects within the LGBTQ communities.

Lynette Renner, PhD, Director

Lynette M. Renner, PhD, MSW is the director of the Center as well as an associate professor at the School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Renner comes from the University of Iowa and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky (MSW) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (PhD). Dr. Renner’s background and research focuses on family violence across the lifespan, risk factors of specific types of violence, and the behavioral, mental health and academic outcomes associated with experiencing multi-type violence. Dr. Renner has a longstanding commitment to conducting research which aims to be useful domestic violence, legal services, and child welfare professionals.

To read more about Dr. Renner’s previous work and publications please click HERE.

Tenzin Dolkar, Research Assistant

Tenzin Dolkar is a student at the University of Minnesota school of Social Work. Dolkar works as a domestic violence advocate at the Asian Women United of Minnesota and runs the support group program. She provides legal advocacy for Asian and immigrant women fleeing domestic violence and human trafficking. Dolkar has also participated in the city of Minneapolis coordinated community response team and Hennepin County Domestic Abuse Service Center. Dolkar is interested in research related to developmental trauma, prevention of domestic violence, and child abuse

Contact Information

Our center is located in the School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota and we can be contacted at:

MINCAVA - Minnesota Center Against Violence & Abuse
School of Social Work, University of Minnesota
105 Peters Hall, 1404 Gortner Avenue
St. Paul, Minnesota 55108-6142 USA
tel: 612-624-0721 fax: 612-625-4288
Email Us

Map of Peters Hall and surrounding area