• We are extraordinary!

    Empowerment through education

  • Mission

    Hi, I'm Heather and I provide training, coaching and advocacy to frontline advocate and other professionals to increase their awareness and competence when engaging victims and perpetrators of domestic and teen dating violence.

    Extraordinary Advocates

    Mission: Advocates + Education = Empowerment

    I founded Extraordinary Advocates after working as a Social Worker in the field of child welfare for over 10 years. Having worked in the child welfare setting and domestic violence shelters I have had the unique experience of seeing the gap that exist between domestic violence services and child welfare services. As a result of this gap victims of domestic violence are often time re-victimized by the child welfare system, and many others. They are labeled as bad mothers and blamed for the abuse. They are labeled as uncooperative when they refuse to testify against the perpetrator for safety reasons. Professionals often create inappropriate case plans for victims and perpetrators which can create additional problems. Extraordinary Advocates provides education through training, coaching and advocacy to frontline advocates and other professionals that encounter women, men and children affected by domestic and teen dating violence. My training will help you and your staff to be more informed regarding issues of domestic violence as it relates to the entire family.


    I have also been called to testify as an expert witness in domestic violence cases, and can also provide expert testimony in regards to the dynamics of domestic violence, it's affect on children, and how domestic violence relates to child welfare cases.


    Services can accommodate a variety of audiences and groups in a variety of setting, for in person, video and remote presentations.

  • Who We Are

    My mission is to be in the trenches with you and your staff in the battle against domestic violence.

    Heather Shorten

    Advocate Extraordinaire


    My passion is empowering and advocating for all people. I began working with victims and children affected by domestic violence more then 15 years ago. Since that time I have expanded into assisting perpetrators as well, because I recognizes that people can change with advocacy and intervention. It is now my mission to share my knowledge and expertise with others on the frontlines.



    Work History


    I have worked in the social service field since 1998 first as a mentor for troubled children and currently as an advocate for victims and children affected by domestic violence.


    As a Social Worker and advocate I have experience working with children and families involved in the child welfare system and families affected by domestic violence. I have worked with children ranging in age from infant to 18 years of age. I am an experience group and training facilitator, as I have facilitated groups on various topics to both children and adults. Most recently in my position as Domestic Violence Specialist at Child and Family Services Agency I trained Social Workers, supervisors, lawyers, case managers, and other professionals on the dynamics of domestic violence and more effective ways to engage families affected by domestic violence. I have participated in the Governor's Taskforce Against Human Trafficking in the state of Maryland. I have also worked as a Children's advocate in a domestic violence shelter, where I managed the children's program. In my many years of doing this work I have been called to testify in court as an expert witness in cases related to domestic violence and child abuse. I have also assisted many victims in navigating the court process in applying for a protection order, in addition to providing advocacy to women and children during the court process.


    I have also participated and presented a poster of my training at the Australian Stop Domestic Violence Conference in 2016. During the conference I met with and spoke to a variety of professionals including, judges, police officers, Social Workers and psychologists and facilitated and chaired discussions regarding domestic and work place violence.






    I earned a Bachelors Degree in Sociology from Cleveland State University in 1998.


    I earned a Master of Social Work Degree from Cleveland State University in 2004, where I graduated on the Dean's list.


    I hold Social Work licenses in Maryland and Ohio.

  • How we can Help

    We've got a top notch team!

    My Target Audience

    • Social Workers
    • Law enforcement and other first responders
    • Corporations and Human Resources staff
    • Managers and Supervisors
    • Teachers and other school staff
    • Medical professionals
    • Attorneys
    • Social service agencies and nonprofits
    • Court employees
    • Any professional that interacts with families affected by domestic violence

    What My Training Can Do For You

    • Improve proficiency of staff who interview victims and perpetrators of domestic violence
    • Improved understanding of the dynamics of domestic violence
    • Improved understanding of victim's needs leading improved relationships with victims
    • Learn to recognize the signs of domestic violence
    • Improved understanding of perpetrator behavior, accountability and appropriate services for perpetrators
    • Better service outcomes for your clients or patients
    • Learn how to create an appropriate case plan for victims and perpetrators
    • Learn how to help a victim create an appropriate safety plan
    • Awareness of domestic violence resources in your area
  • What's happening at Extraordinary Advocates

    Take a look and enjoy!

    October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Check out my Facebook page, Extraordinary Advocates for information about the different types of domestic violence, the signs of domestic violence and what you can do to help.

    1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner in their life time.

    On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.

    The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%.

  • Connect With Us

    Drop us a line to discuss how Extraordinary Advocates can help to make you and your staff even more extraordinary


    (216)338-5736 or 04- 7463-6467


    You can also find us on Facebook at Extraordinary Advocate


  • What the Community is Saying

    I would love to hear your feedback


    Hi Ms. Zollicoffer,


    I’m the GAL for a client for whose parents/caregivers Ms. Shorten did DV assessments.  Following her prompt assessments, Ms. Shorten attended a team meeting to discuss what should be done on the case and to weigh in on what she thinks may be happening, how we should approach the family given the likely occurrence of DV, and what actions might endanger the probable DV victim.


    Ms. Shorten was instrumental in helping the professionals reframe our plans and discussions in light of CFSA’s effort to promote evidence-based and victim-friendly approaches to child welfare.  She provided valuable information and wasn’t afraid to jump in and gently reframe the conversation where appropriate.  She has also weighed in on emails and I hope she continues to be able to guide our work on this case.


    I just wanted to let you know what a fantastic job she has done and what an asset she is to our teaming.  I had no idea that CFSA had DV specialists, and certainly had no idea we could utilize their expertise so helpfully.  I will be sure to seek this out where applicable going forward.


    Thanks for your time.




    Megan Conway

    Staff Attorney

    Children’s Law Center

  • Social Feed

    Check out my latest updates!

  • Get Help

    If you are in immediate danger call 911

    For anonymous, confidential help, 24/7, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

    If you need assistance finding domestic violence services in your area please contact the Nationals Domestic Violence Hotline for assistance.

  • My Article

    Click on the link below to read my article for the Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Association and shared on the Australian Stop Domestic Violence Conference website. You can access the paper that I wrote for the 2016 Australian Stop Domestic Violence Conference from this link.