About Us

History of CAWC

Since 1977, CAWC has been a leader in the domestic violence arena.

A Landmark Gathering

In 1976, probably around a kitchen table because that’s where many meetings are held, a landmark gathering was held in Chicago to address the crisis of domestic violence. This gathering resulted in the formation of a task force that ultimately became the Chicago Abused Women Coalition (CAWC) currently known as Connections for Abused Women and their Children.

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From that meeting in 1976, CAWC initiated the first domestic violence program in Chicago. In 1977, CAWC established the first domestic violence hotline. Greenhouse Shelter, Chicago’s first shelter for battered women and their children, opened in 1979. Greenhouse Shelter continues to provide a safe haven for domestic violence survivors and their children.


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. CAWC staff trains healthcare professionals on the public health impact of domestic violence. This the effective identification and referral of victims and over 400 battered women are referred each year. 2014, CAWC opened an HCIP site with identical services at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.


In 1999, CAWC began providing domestic violence services to survivors seeking substance abuse treatment at Haymarket Center, as well as critical identification of abuse victims and training for Haymarket staff.


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 by professionals trained in working with 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.

The help someone receives when they flee an abusive relationship increases their ability to remain free from abuse. For domestic violence survivors, CAWC’s services open up the possibility of forgotten, but vital dreams: education, career, better futures for their children, and lives free from fear and violence.

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We’ve made a difference. Your time and talents allow us to do even more.

Hours of comprehensive domestic violence services provided in 2022

Nights of shelter at Greenhouse Shelter and the Emergency Shelter Hotel Program in 2022

Domestic violence hotline calls answered in 2022

Survivors received legal advocacy in 2022

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