Who We Are
Meeting survivors where they are
Since 1974, Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh has been a leader in providing safety, shelter, support, and guidance to all survivors of domestic violence. Today, our mission is to meet the individual and evolving needs of those affected by domestic violence by investing in the growth of our people, deepening community engagement, and amplifying the voices of all survivors.
Domestic violence (DV), sometimes referred to as intimate partner violence (IPV), affects individuals and communities of every race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and economic status. Our caring DV advocates know that no two situations are the same, and that it is through our common understanding and genuine compassion that we can offer a sanctuary to survivors and their children experiencing domestic violence.
As one of the oldest domestic violence centers in the country, we meet survivors where they are, offering resources and support to help survivors and their families escape abusive relationships and build new lives. All survivors deserve to have help, healing, and hope.
We offer a wide range of domestic violence support services, including hotline services, emergency shelter, legal advocacy, DV support groups, and more. Our efforts are steered by a clear set of values, first pioneered by our founders Ellen Berliner and Anne Steytler in 1974.
Empowerment: Physical, psychological, and emotional abuse cause individuals to feel powerless. WC&S provides support to allow each survivor to rebuild their sense of self in a safe and positive environment.
Survivor-Centered Advocacy: Survivors are the experts on their experiences and their safety and WC&S advocates for the rights of survivors and their families, offering free legal services, medical advocacy, and more to help those in need.
Community: Spreading awareness about domestic violence and its effects begins at the community level. We help to educate the greater Pittsburgh region about DV and the ways the community can help.
Sanctuary: WC&S is a safe haven from violence. Our holistic approach meets the physical and emotional needs of DV survivors and also informs the ways staff members interact with one another. This trauma-informed approach helps us to prioritize safety and recovery from the damage caused by DV.
Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh was founded by Ellen Berliner and Anne Steytler as a place for women to meet and be themselves. At that time, the concept of “domestic violence” had yet to gain mainstream recognition. Soon after opening their doors in 1974, they discovered that nearly half of the women who came to them were experiencing abuse from their partners.
The focus quickly shifted to offering emergency shelter for those experiencing domestic violence, with Berliner and Steytler even housing survivors in their own homes. WC&S became one of the first six shelters for domestic violence in the nation, making tremendous strides in spreading awareness and aid for survivors in the Pittsburgh area and at large.
WC&S helps more than 7,500 survivors of domestic violence each year recover from the trauma of DV and create lives free from violence. We pledge to protect and support all survivors and their children with high-quality, empathetic, and equitable 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 survivors of DV and create a world where everyone can experience love, safety, and compassion.