Gateway Domestic Violence Services (Gateway) has entered its fourth decade of service provision to victims of domestic violence who live within the City of Aurora and Arapahoe County. The development of Gateway was initiated in 1977 with the merger of two grassroots efforts–Aurora Community Mental Health Center’s Battered Women’s Shelter Project and the Arapahoe Battered Women’s Task Force. In January 1979, the project received funding from the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, Aurora Community Development, and CETA, in order to initiate operations. A nonprofit corporation, Aurora-Arapahoe Battered Women’s Shelter, Inc., was formed in February 1979, and the shelter opened for services on May 8, 1979, in a building donated by the City of Aurora.
In June 1981, the shelter entered a transitional phase, going from a project sponsored by the District Attorney’s office to becoming a part of the Arapahoe County Community Services Department. The Board of Directors acted in an advisory capacity with major control and responsibility being held by the County. In August 1983, the shelter established independence from Arapahoe County by becoming a private, nonprofit corporation.
In 1985, Gateway purchased a second facility, enabling the organization to expand its bed capacity, as well as develop a comprehensive nonresidential program for women and children who are victims of domestic violence. In response to the need for expanded counseling services in Arapahoe County, Gateway opened another nonresidential counseling office in July 1993. In June 1996, Gateway purchased a small office building to replace this leased space and to permanently house nonresidential services in south Arapahoe County.
In March 1994, Gateway opened a second emergency shelter in southern Arapahoe County to increase geographic accessibility and available bed space for women and children fleeing family violence. It became evident that women working towards independent living needed more than thirty days in emergency shelter to achieve this goal. As of September 2001, this facility is now used to provide a place for women and their children to reside for up to three months while locating permanent housing.
In 2004, Gateway changed its name to Gateway Battered Women’s Services, and again in 2016 to Gateway Domestic Violence Services, to be more inclusive of all services provided by the organization.
Since its inception, Gateway has been a leader in the field of domestic violence throughout the community, state and nation. Gateway was the first shelter in the community to establish a comprehensive counseling program for nonresident women and children. Gateway remains a leader in the provision of services to children, both in a residential and nonresidential setting. Gateway was also one of the first shelters in the nation to establish a Court Advocacy Program, designed to organize and coordinate the criminal justice and domestic violence service systems in the City of Aurora.
In addition, Gateway is one of the few shelters in the country that allows families to bring their pets to shelter with them.