The CENTER FOR THE PREVENTION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE was formed as Women Together in August 1979 to provide emergency shelter and counseling for battered women. Representatives from agencies that aided female victims of violence, such as the FREE MEDICAL CLINIC, the CLEVELAND RAPE CRISIS CTR., the Victim Assistance Unit of the Cleveland Municipal Court, and women's groups such as WOMENSPACE and Cleveland Women's Counseling joined forces to form the group and to publicize the need for such a shelter. By mid-August 1976 the women had opened an emergency shelter accommodating sixteen people. At first the facility was supported solely by individual donations, but within months of opening it received an initial $17,000 from the CLEVELAND FOUNDATION; grants from the GEO. GUND FOUNDATION and the Gerson foundations followed. In 1980, after extensive lobbying by Women Together members and others, the Ohio legislature raised the price of a marriage license and designated the extra dollars to support battered women's shelters.
Women Together took over the WomenSpace hotline for victims of violence and later expanded its operations to twenty-four hours per day. By the spring of 1983, the hotline received about 700 calls a month; in 1988 the number had risen to about 850. In May 1985 Women Together began Second Step, to support women after they left the shelter. The Famicos Foundation renovated a six-suite apartment building to provide low-cost housing for the women and their children, and Women Together continued to offer counseling and legal advocacy as well as assistance in finding job training or other education.
After a planning and restructuring program that began in 1988, Women Together became a program within the larger Center for the Prevention of Domestic Violence in June 1990. The new name better reflected increasing male involvement and leadership as well as a new focus on counseling male batterers. The organization maintained its basic mission, however, with Women Together, Inc., which maintained the emergency shelter. Administrative offices were moved to 23875 Commerce Park in BEACHWOOD, where they were still located in 2006.
See also WOMEN.