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Asian Women's Shelter

Asian Women's Shelter
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Contact: Asian Women's Shelter
Asian Women's Shelter
3543 18th Street # 19
San Francisco, CA 94110
Phone: 415-751-7110
Fax: 415-751-0806

Asian Women's Shelter (AWS) was founded in 1988 by a determined group of women who recognized the absence of accessible services for limited and non-English speaking immigrant survivors of domestic violence in the San Francisco Bay Area. At the time only two national shelters offered services that were culturally competent and language-accessible for Asian women and children: New York Asian Women's Center in New York City and the Center for the Pacific Asian Family in Los Angeles.

Timeline Achievements and Milestones

2010: AWS moves into its first outside training space, the Dandelion Room, as a result of the success of the Dandelion Campaign.

2009: QAWS becomes Queer Asian Women & Transgender Services (QAWTS) to formalize its commitment to the inclusion of all survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking.

2008: QAWS launches Chai Chats, a safe and confidential community-based initiative which equips AWS's LGBT community members with tools and strategies to practice and promote healthy relationships in all areas of their lives and communities.

2007: The Multilingual Digital Storytelling Project is launched in collaboration with the Center for Digital Storytelling. AWS empowers immigrant survivors to tell their stories in their own voices and languages, and to create powerful multimedia presentations about violence against API women.

2003: QAWS convenes the first "Transforming Silence into Action" national gathering of queer Asian Pacific Islander (API) activists and advocates addressing intimate partner violence in API LGBT communities.

AWS hosts the first national Powerful Peers Forum, a gathering of advocates who participated in the Peer-to-Peer Technical Assistance Program.

2002-03: AWS becomes the first, and to date the only, domestic violence shelter in the Bay Area to create an anti-trafficking program. Together with API Legal Outreach and Narika, AWS forms the Asian Anti-Trafficking Collaborative (AATC), which provides services and advocacy for trafficked survivors.

2002: Launch of the national Peer-to-Peer Technical Assistance (TA) Program, in which AWS works one-on-one with anti-violence agencies around the country in a peer-based approach to deepen relationships, build skills, and strengthen the diversity and sustainability of the work to end violence against women.

2001: The powerful testimony of AWS residents helps lead to the passage of the San Francisco Language Access Ordinance.

2000: The Community Building Program, which includes community education, grassroots mobilization, technical assistance and advocacy, is formalized and launched.

The Organizational Development Team is formed to hold the health and sustainability of the organization, and to ensure that each staff person plays a role in the growth and direction of AWS.

1997: Lesbian Services expands into Queer Asian Women's Services (QAWS) Program. QAWS works on innovative prevention strategies and advocacy to make existing services accessible to queer survivors of relationship violence.

The AWS Collaborative, in partnership with the San Francisco State University's Department of Women's Studies, sponsors "Gathering Strength: Coming together to end domestic violence in our Asian & Pacific Islander communities," a forum attended by over 350 people.

1995: The AWS Collaborative is formed by AWS, API Legal Outreach, Cameron House and Narika, to ensure a network of services, ranging from intensive case management to legal support, is provided to survivors.

AWS spearheads the creation of the Citywide Multi-Language Access Model Project, where its pool of trained language advocates is shared with agencies throughout San Francisco. As of 2010, the project has expanded to include API Legal Outreach, Rosalie House, Brennan House, Communities United Against Violence, W.O.M.A.N. Inc., Narika, Clara House and Gum Moon Women's Residence.

1994: The powerful testimony of AWS residents helps lead to the passage of the battered immigrant women provisions of the federal Violence Against Women Act.

1991: The Multilingual Access Model (MLAM) Program is created to offer language support to non-English-speaking survivors of violence. As of 2010, AWS offers on-call support in over 30 languages and dialects.

1990: The Lesbian Services Program is established to increase AWS's accessibility to lesbian survivors and address homophobia in both API communities and existing domestic violence services and systems.

1988: AWS is founded as the first shelter in northern California and the third in the nation to offer cultural and language-accessible services to non-English-speaking Asian refugee and immigrant survivors of domestic violence.

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