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Agency - Battered Women's Shelter Of Summit & Medina Counties

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Battered Women's Shelter Of Summit & Medina Counties
Last updated on February 19, 2015


The mission of the Battered Women’s Shelter is to lead the community in the prevention of domestic abuse by providing emergency shelter, advocacy and education throughout Summit and Medina County, all in an effort to break the cycle of abuse and help promote peace in every family.

The Battered Women’s Shelter of Summit and Medina Counties offers many programming options for women and men who have been victimized through domestic violence. From our shelter options to our support groups, we aim to provide support and education to the persons who need it most. We also provide community outreach and education to area organizations and schools.

Our three Shelters are our core programs: 90 beds for the use of people in Summit and Medina Counties who are in need of a safe place to sleep because they fear for their lives. While in shelter we make sure they have food, clothing, personal items and children’s extras.

The 24 hour Hotline staff help victims with their emotional needs and case planning. Court Services: Employees of the BWS will accompany victims to domestic relations, municipal and common pleas court. Staff works in the Medina, Wadsworth, Barberton, Akron, Stow and Cuyahoga Falls courts, helping victims understand and maneuver their way through the criminal justice system that affords multiple avenues of support for victims of domestic violence. Our advocates and Safe Advocates who specialize in the criminal court system are available every day of the work week to help persons better participate in the judicial process.

Out of the Court programs we operate other programs called: Stop the Cycle and Early Intervention and Victim Impact Program. All three of these programs can benefit any family going through these destructive patterns. Participants spend a few hours listening to interesting lectures and participate in discussions about family violence, the roots of the issues and possible coping / stress reducing options.

Children Who Witness Violence: kids are not forgotten at our agency as our employees are available and able to professionally and sensitively respond to the youngest victims. Sure, kids are resilient, but they also can greatly benefit from the extra and appropriate support given through this program. Family Stability is a program which works with victims in families who have protection orders in place. Once a protection order is established, the parties should NOT be communicating in any way. That expectation is almost impossible, especially when you have joint
issues, finances and most importantly, children. So the Family Stability Staff will provide a “go-
between” for these families.

Support Groups: almost every night of the week a victim can find a safe place to go and talk. Much like Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, these groups are member facilitated sessions that provide for an open and honest discussion of the issues that often stop a victim from living a full life. Many times victims of violence start in these Support Groups before leaving their abuser. Those are just the core of all that the Battered Women’s Shelter offers. Whether a victim (male or female) is ready to leave a relationship or only at a stage of needing to talk, our services are
available. Many of our peer organizations in the community provide other supportive programming and
we can best help direct you or your loved ones.
Family Violence can be stopped and prevented, all you need to do is speak up and ask for help.

In 1976, a group of women began gathering to discuss the community need of DV assistance, and how they could help. They had a vision for a stand-alone shelter with the capacity to respond to the needs of women and children fleeing abusive situations; however, available finances disallowed that vision to come to fruition. In May 1977, the group incorporated, and became known as the Akron Task Force on Battered Women.

Just prior to the group’s incorporation, in February, 1977, the soon-to-be-named task force opened an office at the Akron YMCA, where phone referrals and drop-in support were offered to women in crisis. In addition to the YMCA, other community organizations and professionals lent aid to the task force.

During the 1980’s, a myriad of changes began to shape the landscape of the organization. In January of 1980, a 24-hour hotline was established, and the task force rented a large home, to be used as a shelter. In 1981, the Task Force legally became known as the Battered Women’s Shelter (BWS), and began providing case management and crisis intervention services. These services continue to be the hallmark of our organization. Finally, in 1986, BWS purchased the Step II Transitional Facility, which remains in operation, and houses women who remain linked with case management and planning services.

The 1990’s brought an expansion of agency services, including Legal Advocacy, the Family Violence Court, One Safe Night, and additional community support groups. As well, a toll-free hotline number was implemented for Summit County residents. During 1997, the Step III transitional housing program opened, which continues to provide two years of comprehensive support to DV victims in 15 sites in Summit County.

Since the beginning of the new millennium the Medina Shelter has opened, the Family Stability Program was created, in collaboration with Akron Children’s Hospital, the Children Who Witness Violence Program was initiated, and BWS opened its doors to the Rape Crisis Center of Medina and Summit Counties. Additionally, through the efforts of BWS and others, the SAFE program, and Family Violence Court were developed. On a community outreach basis, the GLBT community has been served through shelter and support groups, the minority community has benefited from increased awareness and outreach efforts, and THOUSANDS of domestic violence survivors have been served.

Contact people:

 Brittany Paliswat, Volunteer Coordinator, (phone), (email)
Paul Henry, Volunteer Coordinator, (phone), (email)

Main office number: (330) 374-0740
Office fax number: (330) 777-4549


 974 East Market Street
Akron, OH 44305
(See a map)

Web Site:


 If driving, please use the parking lot address of 940 River Street to locate our office building.
Last updated on February 19, 2015

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