Who We Are
“Without even realizing it, we had transitioned from the Women’s Movement to the Battered Women’s Movement.” – Ann Steytler, Founder.
For nearly 45 years, Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh has been a leader in providing safety, shelter, support and guidance to all survivors of domestic violence. During this time, we have been witness to both the triumphs and heartaches associated with this complex issue that affects 1 out of 4 women in America.
We know that no two situations are ever alike, but it is through our common understanding and genuine compassion that we can offer a sanctuary to women and their children suffering at the hands of domestic violence.
Today, our mission is to advance the safety and wellbeing of survivors of intimate partner violence and prevent and respond to intimate partner violence through social change.
Our Commitment to Fighting Intimate Partner Violence
Intimate partner violence, more commonly known as domestic violence, is a serious and pervasive matter that affects every community, regardless of age, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or economic status. According to statistics of domestic violence, 1 in 3 women will become victims of domestic violence in their lifetime.
As one of the oldest women’s shelters in Pittsburgh, PA, our goal is to offer hope in the form of resources aimed at helping women and their children escape abusive relationships and build new lives.
Our Guiding Principles
We offer a wide range of expert supportive services, including a 24-hour hotline, emergency family shelter, legal advocacy, domestic violence support groups and more. All of our efforts are steered by a simple set of values, first pioneered by our founders Ellen Berliner and Anne Steytler over four decades ago.
Empowerment: Suffering physical, psychological or emotional abuse has a way of making anyone feel powerless. Everything we do begins from a place of trust, allowing women to rebuild their sense of self in a safe and positive environment.
Advocacy: Women’s Center & Shelter is more than just a domestic violence shelter. We are Advocates for the rights of women, children and all victims of domestic abuse, offering free legal services, medical aid and more to help all those in need.
Community: Spreading awareness about intimate partner violence and its effects on children begins at the community level. We help to educate residents of the greater Pittsburgh area about the harms of partner abuse, the ways they can help, and to show that there is hope for victims of domestic violence.
Sanctuary: Our Emergency Shelter for women and children is a safe haven from fear and violence, adopting a holistic approach to meeting the physical and emotional needs of intimate partner abuse victims. Through guided activities and special services, we help women and their children recover from the damage caused by domestic violence.
Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh was founded by Ellen Berliner and Anne Steytler, at a time when the entire concept of “domestic violence” had yet to gain any mainstream recognition. Soon after opening its doors in 1974, they discovered that nearly half of the women who came to them had been beaten or abused by their partners.
The focus of the organization quickly shifted to offer emergency shelter for women and their children, with Berliner and Steytler even housing victims in their own homes. Women’s Center & Shelter would become one of the first six shelters for intimate partner violence in the nation, making tremendous strides in spreading awareness and aid for victims in the Pittsburgh area and at large.
Our Promise to You
Today, we help more than 7,500 individuals each year recover from the trauma of intimate partner violence and find their way into a new life. Our domestic violence shelter and program offer the promise of safety and anonymity, and we pledge to protect and support all victims with the highest quality services.
We are trusted partners with local law enforcement, legal agencies, and other nonprofit organizations, which allows us to continue the fight for the rights of all victims of intimate partner violence and create a world where everyone can experience love and compassion in a safe, healthy manner.