In 1977, a small group of individuals recognized the need for our community to offer support to battered women and their children. They started taking turns answering a crisis hotline that was forwarded to their homes. Some made room in their own homes for the women that had no place else to turn. It soon was realized that the need was greater than anyone imagined. In November 1977, The Women’s Shelter of the Corpus Christi Area, Inc. became incorporated.
With grants from the City of Corpus Christi, Nueces County and several area foundations a building was purchased and renovated, opening to shelter battered women and their children on January 16, 1978. As the third battered women’s shelter to open in the state of Texas the agency went on to provide safety and support to hundreds of victims over the next several years.
In 1982, the agency began providing direct services to children residing in the shelter facility.
The Support Center, intended to provide individual and group counseling to nonresidential victims of violence, was established in 1983. In 1986, Victims of Crime Act funding was received to reach out into the eleven outlying counties of the agency’s service area. Two part-time advocates provided peer counseling, information and referral, advocacy, and community education to victims residing in these areas.
By 1990, there was an ever-growing list of women and children in need of shelter. Programs had grown to the extent that there simply was not enough room in which to provide services. The addition of the Sexual Assault Intervention Program in October 1993, serving adult victims of sexual assault, increased the need for more space. A building campaign ensued, with the goal of designing and building a facility specifically intended to be a shelter. On August 1, 1994, the new facility opened with a capacity of housing up to sixty-five women and children.
As agency services expanded, the need was recognized to offer services to perpetrators of family violence. The local Batterer’s Intervention and Prevention Program (BIPP) was initiated on September 1, 1995, providing an educationally based group format for participants.
By 1999, the expansion of services and associated staff resulted in crowded conditions in the shelter facility, and the search began for another building to house administration and supportive services. With a generous gift from Ed and Janet Harte, the Harte Building at 813 Buford St. was opened in August 1999, allowing the agency to offer expanded services. Secondly, November 1999, saw the completion of another Ed and Janet Harte capital addition. That of a recreation room in the shelter facility intended for use by teenagers.
In 2000, the agency focused on expanding outreach services into the rural areas, with the establishment of offices in Alice, Beeville, Kingsville and Sinton and the addition of six advocates in order to fully staff each location.
In 2006, the word “prevention” would become our hope and our focus. Since then the goal of prevention has become interwoven in everything we do. It has taken us from a grass roots effort to keep victims safe to a movement to end violence in our communities once and for all.