The YWCA began in Dubuque in 1902 because young girls were leaving the farm to work in the city and needed a safe, clean place to live. Continuing to respond to the needs of women in the community, in 1978 the YWCA reached out to the needs of women and children in crisis by establishing the domestic violence program. At first, the domestic violence program served victims through a series of “safe houses.” In 1988 a house for the purpose of sheltering women and children was granted to the YMCA/YWCA by the City of Dubuque.The building is now the location for the shelter. 

In July of 2013, the Iowa Attorney General restructured domestic violence services throughout the state. At that time, everything provided through the YMCA/YWCA ceased, receiving federal crime victim funding. The YMCA/YWCA Board of Directors recognized the danger and hardship for victims of Dubuque County who would have to seek safety at a shelter more than a 2-hour drive away and made the commitment to keep the shelter in operation.  



The mission of the Dubuque Community YMCA/YWCA Victim Services Shelter is to empower and advocate for all victims of domestic violence, especially those seeking shelter services. We seek to create an educated community that supports and participates in securing a person’s right to a life, free from violence.


Victim Services Shelter Top 5 Needs

  • paper towels
  • office supplies
  • 13-gallon trash bags
  • laundry detergent
  • toilet paper

Donations can be dropped off at the Dubuque Community YMCA/YWCA, or a check can be made payable to Victim Services Shelter with “Top 5 Needs” in the memo line.



Annual Service Statistics

  • 144 victims received safe shelter
  • The Victim Services Shelter provided 4,002 nights of safety
  • Victims were provided with 711 rides to various locations
  • Staff and volunteers received and assisted 3,012 hotline calls
  • Average length of shelter stay was 35-45 days
  • Average cost per person per stay $385.00


What types of shelter services are offered?

  • VICTIM SERVICES SHELTER is an 18-bed emergency safe shelter in Dubuque, staffed 24/7 with state-certified victim advocates. Victims with high safety risk are eligible for a 30-day stay. Priority is given to Dubuque County residents. Victims from elsewhere are considered whenever there are available beds.
  • COLLABORATION with other shelters. When victims cannot be safe in this community, they are assisted in locating another shelter where they can be safe. Victim Services Shelter assists with transportation to this shelter.
  • RAPID REHOUSING assistance is also provided to victims during their stay by accessing community resources quickly in order to secure safe and affordable housing.


Who is eligible for shelter services?

Anyone fleeing domestic abuse is eligible for assistance. Domestic abuse is a pattern of abusive behavior used to control one’s partner.


For more information

For information about safe shelter for domestic violence victims, please call the 24-hour hotline.

Call 563.556.1100 Call 1.800.332.5899