By Rebecca Henely
The New York Asian Women’s Center, a nonprofit based in Manhattan that offers services for Asian women who have been victims of crime and their children, opened a community center Aug. 2 in Elmhurst.
Wang, a staff member of the NYAWC who asked that her first name not be used, said NYAWC has two emergency shelters in Queens, but this is the first community center and space for client walk-ins the group has opened in the borough .
“Asian women need their own safe place to go to get help, justice, respect and, when possible, compensation,” Larry Lee, executive director of NYAWC, said in a statement. The center opened in one of the offices at 83-02 Broadway.
NYAWC has been in operation since 1982 and was started as a community awareness project to help Asian immigrant women who had no resources after suffering domestic violence, said the NYAWC’s website. Today NYAWC encompasses a hotline and shelters for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking as well as victims of crimes of gender violence and crimes against Asian women.
“We’re at an advantage here because we’re at close proximity to the Elmhurst Hospital,” said Wu, a staff member who also asked that her first name not be used.
Wu said the new community center, called the Center for Asian Women Crime Victims, has three offices for counseling and therapy services for women and children, as well as a large conference room that can be used for readings, a women’s support group and a digital art therapy group for teenagers, where they can learn photography and digital art.
In addition to general counseling for women who have been victims of crime, the center also provides advocacy services, court assistance, parenting workshops and assistance with helping mothers with school, day care and health services. The center can also refer women to shelters or other legal services.
Wang said the center is in the process of setting up its support group services, but has already begun seeing and counseling women at its new location.
“We have a lot of existing clients in the Queens neighborhood,” Wang said.
NYAWC said 100,000 Asian women in the city will be abused by their partners in their lifetime and about 8,000 human trafficking slaves are brought to the United States from Asia each year. Of women of all backgrounds, one in four women will be sexually assaulted and one in 10 teenage girls will be physically assaulted during dating, the organization said.
Wang said the center will serve women of all ages and cultural backgrounds.
Fronthy Nguyen, outreach coordinator for NYAWC, said the center had been in the planning stage for about a year before it opened at the beginning of the month.
“Being that we’re now in Elmhurst, the community will have greater access for women to seek help if they are victims of crime,” Nguyen said.
The center can be reached through NYAWC’s 24-hour, toll-free hotline at 1-888-888-7702. Counseling services are available in Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, Hindi, Urdu and 12 other dialects or languages. The center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.