Ann Whitehead, a local social worker, realized the pervasiveness of domestic violence in San Antonio. She envisioned an environment where victims of abuse could find respite from fear. Whitehead enlisted the help of Reverend Don Baugh, Director of the San Antonio Community of Churches, and together with faith, determination, and $400, opened the Battered Women’s Shelter of Bexar County. The three-bedroom house on San Antonio’s north side was immediately filled to capacity. Concerned citizens raised money, collected food, clothing, and diapers, and operated the shelter on a day-to-day basis for the first year. The Battered Women Shelter of Bexar County later relocated to a converted church building, where it remained for 23 years.
The mission of Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc. is to break the cycle of family violence and to strengthen families by providing the necessary tools for self-sufficiency through the delivery of emergency shelter, transitional housing, education, effective parenting and early intervention with adults, children, youth and the elderly.
As women revealed their stories, it was soon realized that the victims’ needs exceeded mere shelter. Many victims had witnessed violence in their homes as children and statistics pointed to a pattern of abuse. In 1987, the Battered Women’s Shelter of Bexar County initiated a program to break this cycle. The needs of both women and children were identified, and programs were established to meet these needs in addition to a new name, the Battered Women and Children’s Shelter (BWCS). In May 2002, BWCS moved to a new complex that is able to accommodate 200 people.
BWCS offers individual and group counseling services, parenting education, legal services, transitional housing, medical and dental, and specialized children’s services. Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc. operates the Battered Women and Children’s Shelter, in addition to a non-residential services location at 7911 Broadway.
With a professional team of licensed counselors, case managers and attorneys, BWCS provides their residential and non-residential clients supportive and life-saving programs that together give options and choices for families.