The Collins Center strives to prevent sexual violence and its impact in our community.

History of the Collins Center


October 1987

Following the tragic sexual assault and death of well-known community member Shirley Collins, a dynamic group of community members came together and took action to address the ways sexual violence was affecting the community. This group included representatives from mental health, nonprofit, offender treatment, law enforcement, and higher education sectors of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County who were dedicated to improving the response to those affected by sexual violence.


1988 - 1989

A comprehensive community needs assessment indicated many people were seeking services for sexual assault and abuse, but few resources were available to help. In response, a dedicated group of volunteers came together to found Citizens Against Sexual Assault (CASA) in 1988. CASA began providing services with two part-time staff and volunteers in 1989.


1989 - 2007

CASA grew to include extensive prevention and education efforts, specialized advocacy and support, and accessible mental health treatment. In January of 2007, CASA changed its name to the Collins Center to continue honoring the memory of Shirley Collins while widening the services it offered. 



The Collins Center expanded again to include the community's Child Advocacy Center (CAC), which allows the Collins Center to work with a Multidisciplinary Team to best serve child victims of abuse and neglect.


2015 - 2016

The Collins Center relocated to the Ice House in downtown Harrisonburg with its Child Advocacy Center. The CAC received national accreditation from the National Children's Alliance in January of 2016.

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The Collins Center has eight full-time staff, one part-time staff, and a dedicated board of directors, interns, and volunteers. Currently, the Collins Center provides direct services to over 500 individuals and reaches approximately 3,000 people through prevention outreach annually.