Connections for Abused Women and their Children (CAWC) is committed to ending domestic violence. Using a self-help, empowerment approach, we provide a shelter for adults and children, counseling, advocacy, and a 24-hour hotline for people affected by domestic violence. We work for social change through education, service collaboration, and institutional advocacy.


CAWC believes that all people have a right to violence-free lives. We believe that abusive acts are acts of power and control that the victim does not provoke, enjoy or deserve. We believe in holding perpetrators of abuse accountable for their actions. We believe that all people have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. We believe that victims of abuse can regain control of their lives through appropriate support services, information and referral to community services.


In 1976 a landmark meeting was held in Chicago to address the crisis of women abuse. This gathering resulted in the formation of a task force that ultimately became the Chicago Abused Women Coalition (CAWC) currently Connections for Abused Women and their Children. CAWC initiated the first domestic violence services program in Chicago. In 1977, CAWC established the first domestic violence hotline and opened the first shelter for battered womenand their children, Greenhouse Shelter, in 1979.

In 1992, CAWC founded the Hospital Crisis Intervention Project (HCIP). The first of its kind in a public hospital, HCIP is a model on-site domestic violence program at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County that trains clinicians on the public health impact of abuse – including the effective identification and referral of victims – and assists over 400 battered women who are referred from various departments within the hospital system.

In 1998, CAWC began providing domestic violence services to women seeking substance abuse treatment at Haymarket Center. In 2000, CAWC opened the Humboldt Park Outreach Program (HPOP), a walk-in program at our administrative offices in Humboldt Park. HPOP provides individual and group counseling to victims of abuse and their children, as well as enhanced children’s therapeutic services to children. CAWC is also a collaborative partner in the West Side Domestic Abuse Project (WSDAP), an intervention program for men who batter.

Requests for our services continue to escalate. Each month, Greenhouse Shelter is forced to turn away more than 600 women and children requesting emergency shelter, due to lack of space.

The help a woman receives when she flees an abusive relationship increases her ability to remain free from abuse. For battered women, CAWC services open up the possibility of forgotten dreams: education, career, better futures for their children, and lives free of fear and violence.