Domestic Violence Advocacy

The Services for Survivors of Domestic Violence program is part of our Advocacy & Prevention Department that includes our Services for Survivors of Domestic Violence and Services for Children & Youth programs. The mission of the Services for Survivors of Domestic Violence Department is to break the cycle of violence through safety, healing, individual empowerment and social change.  We believe that peace begins at home.

Walnut Avenue Family & Women’s Center (Walnut Avenue) staff and volunteer advocates are available to support survivors of domestic violence (DV) through crisis intervention, peer counseling, safety planning, and goal setting . Our advocates are certified DV peer counselors and are trained to respond to individual needs. We offer a confidential and safe space for survivors to talk about the challenges and barriers that impact their lives and to explore options.

We provide all of our support services in English & Spanish.

24-Hour Bilingual Domestic Violence Crisis Hotline:
1-866-2MY-ALLY | 1-866-269-2559

Crisis intervention, emotional support, resources, referrals, and safety-planning for survivors and their allies.

One-on-One Peer Advocacy

Trained domestic violence advocates offer a non-judgmental environment for participants to talk about their experiences and weigh their options.  Participants are supported to understand the dynamics of abuse and its impact on their lives, nurture self-esteem, set healthy boundaries, develop safe coping skills, assess risks, and create a safety plan to address their emotional, mental, spiritual and/or physical safety. Information, resources, and referrals to other agencies are available as needed. 

To meet with an advocate in person, you can come in during our walk-in hours (conducted on a first-come, first-serve basis) or make an appointment. To hear our current walk-in hours or for more information, call our front desk at (831) 426-3062.

Legal Advocacy

Our advocates assist with the preparation of family law restraining order paperwork, and also provide court accompaniment to restraining order hearings and custody mediation at no cost to our participants. Advocates may also act as liaisons between participants and members of the criminal legal system. Advocates cannot provide legal advice or representation, but they will provide emotional support and information on accessing local legal resources.

Support Groups

We offer several support groups to the community. Our support groups provide a safe, confidential environment for survivors who are women or on the feminine spectrum to meet others who have faced similar experiences and gain knowledge and tools for empowerment. These groups are drop-in, offer childcare for their attendees, and are free of charge. If you are a male survivor, please contact us as we want to provide support and are in the process of developing groups for men.

  • Domestic Violence Support Group
    Mondays from 6:00pm-7:30pm
    Main office (303 Walnut Avenue, Santa Cruz)

  • Seeking Safety Group
    Thursdays from 11:30am-12:30pm
    Main office (303 Walnut Avenue, Santa Cruz)

Emergency Accommodation

Walnut Avenue offers short-term, off-site accommodations for survivors needing an emergency solution while seeking a safe living environment.

Housing First Program

We are developing a program to assist survivors of domestic violence in transitioning to permanent, safe housing.

Community Education

Educational presentations and trainings on domestic violence (DV) are available to agencies, businesses, schools, and organizations at no cost. Topics include general DV information, DV in the workplace, healthy relationships for teens, and how to be an ally to survivors. Our community educator is happy to tailor our resources to address the specific needs and concerns of an audience.

Internships/Volunteer Advocate Program

Attend our 40+ hour training to become a certified Advocate for Survivors of Domestic Violence and contribute to empowering the lives' of families impacted by abuse.  As a volunteer advocate with Walnut Avenue Family & Women’s Center, you can provide support via our 24-hour, bilingual Spanish hotline and have the option, with additional training, to also provide legal advocacy with court accompaniment, opportunities to work with youth, and to assist with emergency needs at the main office. To learn more about becoming a Volunteer Advocate please call our office to register for a general volunteer orientation at (831) 426-3062.

For more information on volunteering, please visit our Volunteer page here!


It is the policy of Walnut Avenue Family & Women’s Center to provide equal employment, volunteer opportunities and services (EEO) to all persons regardless of race, color, religion, religious creed (including religious dress and grooming practices),national origin, ancestry, citizenship, physical or mental disability, medical condition (including cancer and genetic characteristics), genetic information, marital status, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions), gender, gender identity, gender expression, age (40 years and over), sexual orientation, veteran and/or military status, protected medical leaves (requesting or approved for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act or the California Family Rights Act), domestic violence victim status, political affiliation, and any other status protected by federal, state or local law.