In 1976, twelve dedicated women met at the YWCA in Reading to begin the monumental task of providing services to victims of domestic violence. They met to discuss the details of providing hotline, counseling and temporary housing services to victims. They were pioneers locally and statewide, as they sought to find solutions to end family violence and to help all victims. They attended the first meeting of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) held on November 12, 1976 in Lancaster and became one of the Coalition’s first members. They worked tirelessly, putting together the framework to make families safe, piece by piece. They pooled their resources and pursued the support of the greater Reading community. They did not give up and the community responded. Our “Founding Mothers” even courageously provided shelter to survivors of domestic violence in their own homes.
Berks Women in Crisis, also known as BWIC, was founded in 1976. In 2016, as we celebrated our 40th anniversary, we celebrated our new name – Safe Berks. This new name is important because we serve all survivors – not only women – we serve women, men, children, and individuals of all gender identities. Our new name is also our goal. We work to build a Safe Berks.
Safe Berks, formerly Berks Women in Crisis, is the creation of the inspirational leadership, determination and compassion of our Founding Mothers. As a result of their insight and hard work, thousands of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault have received free, lifesaving services, including shelter, counseling, legal assistance, medical advocacy and education. We thank them and we honor them. We continue their work each day. Our Founding Mothers inspire us to continue their legacy. We will never stop until domestic violence and sexual assault are only found in history books.
Our Founding Mothers included:
Senior Judge Linda K.M. Ludgate Click here for article about Linda Ludgate