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Who We Are

Together, ACWS and its members work to end domestic violence—in our homes and throughout our communities.

A registered charity, ACWS is the provincial network organization of domestic violence shelters in Alberta. We bring four decades of experience and knowledge to serve our 40 members operating over 50 shelters across the province for women, their children, and seniors facing domestic abuse. We advocate for ACWS members and work with them to end domestic violence through culture-shifting violence prevention programs, collective data and research, and front-line training. With support from ACWS, Alberta shelters are helping to provide safety, support families, and improve communities.

Domestic violence remains a serious and urgent problem in Alberta. Collectively, we are challenging the harmful beliefs and actions that perpetuate domestic violence in our communities.




We believe in a world free from violence and abuse.


Our mission is to support ACWS members and work together to end domestic violence and abuse.


  • We believe in empowerment for women and the equal worth of all persons.
  • We believe in strength of numbers together for a common mission
  • We believe that the issues of violence and abuse are the responsibilities of the entire community including legal, social and political structures.

Our Values

Women’s Equality and Empowerment
Imbalance in power relations excludes women from decision-making across all aspects of our society. With a focus on women’s strengths, we promote their rights, needs, and the value of their lived experience. We seek to create women-centred service provision which promotes equality, improves outcomes for women (and their families), reduces long-term costs and builds stronger communities.

We recognize and pro-actively affirm the dignity of all, regardless of race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religious beliefs, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, physical disability, mental disability, marital status, family status, source of income, and sexual orientation. We value the welcoming spaces created by ACWS members so those fleeing violence may heal from their trauma without attempts by abusers, and others, to impose their values, customs or beliefs.

Gender-based violence is an issue faced by people all over the world. The prevalence of gender-based violence worldwide is largely due to systemic gender inequality that disempowers those who identify as women, girls, and other gender minorities, stifles their voices so that their stories are not heard, dismisses, or takes away their dignity, safety, and human rights, or, even worse, depicts violence against them as “normal.”

ACWS acknowledges that current structures often fail to account for the many expressions of gender, and we affirm the importance and the need for resources and supports for gender-diverse people who have experienced violence, as well as safe spaces for them to share and discuss their experiences. Scarcity of resources and aging shelter stock in our sector means that we may not, at this point in time, be able to serve all genders well. Given that women are disproportionately harmed by gender-based violence, our work at ACWS focuses on those individuals who identify as women, but we stand as allies with survivors of all gender identities and sexual orientations in our pursuit of a world free from violence and abuse.

Meaningful Relationships and Partnerships
We value and seek out meaningful relationships and partnerships to further our vision and increase understanding in a changing society.  These relationships take effort by all and are key to both understanding the causes of violence and making changes to end it.

We are stewards of the many resources gifted to us by women, of past, present and future generations. We commit to appropriate management of the human and financial resources and sustainability of ACWS and the support of our members, while also caring for the earth by restoring and protecting it.

Our values are the foundation upon which our strategic goals are based.

Strategic Goals

We Work Collectively
ACWS leads and supports member initiatives which mobilize members of the community to work collectively to end domestic violence and abuse. 

We Share Knowledge
ACWS, in concert with our members and partners, shares and develops knowledge, resources and connections to steadily advance effective responses to domestic violence and abuse.

We Change Systems
ACWS champions changes to systems, policies and practices to improve services for those experiencing violence and abuse, creating a safer space for all.

We Change Culture
ACWS takes action to transform the beliefs, attitudes and behaviours that perpetuate gender-based violence through increased public awareness and conversation.