Giving Thanks: Advocating for Women at La Casa de las Madres

Since 1976, La Casa de las Madres has provided a safe haven to women and children fleeing domestic violence and abuse.

The center offers a wide range of services to those exposed to and at risk of abuse. It was California’s first and the country’s second shelter dedicated to victims of domestic violence.

La Casa de las Madres is the only domestic violence shelter in San Francisco that is open all day every day. Services are multilingual and free of charge.

Currently, La Casa serves over 16,000 community members. In 2010-11, 4,265 callers dialed the center’s adult and teen crisis line, which provides live 24-hour crisis counseling.

In addition to the crisis Line, La Casa offers housing stability and community-building services to the women who live in 158 subsidized units of female-only permanent housing in San Francisco.

The organization also offers training for law enforcement officers, supervised visitation providers and safe housing providers, to give them the tools they need to provide survivors of domestic violence with crucial services and support. It also provides legal support and assistance, including court accompaniment, to survivors attending family court hearings, and access to free legal representation.

Other services include community outreach and education workshops in schools, corporations, public and private social service agencies, and community recreation and resource centers.

According to a fact sheet put out by the organization, in the 2010-2011 year:

  • 1,324 victims were contacted by the group’s domestic violence response team, 922 participated in crisis interventions and 143 accessed legal assistance to pursue a restraining order
  • 373 women and children fleeing violent homes and partners obtained safe and comprehensive emergency shelter services
  • 727 women and families received practical and emotional support through La Casa’s drop-in center
  • 576 community education and outreach workshops and activities educated 9,597 teens, adults and professionals

In the audio recording above, Community Programs Director Lindsay Sweetnam talks about La Casa’s work.

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