To eliminate domestic violence by promoting the social, economic, and political self-determination of women.
Domestic violence affects more than two million women, four million children, and one million older people each year, leaving victims to grapple with a multitude of difficult issues such as physical danger, low self-esteem, dependence on the batterer, guilt, isolation, and a sense of helplessness. Within Asian communities, the problem is often underreported and can be compounded by cultural, language, and economic barriers to many Asian women, particularly immigrants, refugees, and military brides.
The Asian Women's Shelter (AWS) was established in 1988 to provide safety, food, shelter, advocacy, and other resources to women who are struggling with domestic violence, with a specific focus on addressing the cultural and language needs of immigrants, refugees, and U.S.-born Asian women and their children.
AWS works closely with survivors of domestic violence to help them leave violent situations and rebuild their lives. Direct services include a shelter program and twenty-four-hour crisis hotline offered in several Asian languages. The organization also operates a program for women addressing violence in lesbian, bisexual, and transgender relationships.
Beyond its direct services for victims, AWS seeks to end domestic violence by promoting positive changes in values, policies, and practices. The group reaches out to more than one thousand people in its community each year through workshops and presentations at schools, churches, community organizations, conferences, and cultural events. In addition, AWS provides technical assistance and training to domestic violence programs in other cities.
Through its multilingual access program, AWS provides services in a number of languages, including Cantonese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Javanese, Kannada, Korean, Khmu, Lao, Mandarin, Mien, Punjabi, Spanish, Tagalog, Taiwanese, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, and Vietnamese. The organization recruits and trains bilingual women in the Bay Area, and then hires them to provide on-call support and advocacy. AWS has expanded its language program by partnering with five other San Francisco agencies.
The AWS Web site prominently displays its crisis hotline phone number on every page and includes numbers to other domestic violence resources in the community. It describes its programs and services, and explains how people can help the shelter by giving time, products, or financial support.
AWS depends primarily on foundation grants and individual contributions.