Founded in 1977 as the Yolo County Sexual Assault Center, Empower Yolo was started by five women from Davis who began providing crisis intervention services out of an apartment. Soon thereafter, domestic violence services were added and the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center became Yolo County’s sole provider of specialized services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
In 1980, the agency received a federal grant to establish its first shelter and that fall, Harper House, the county’s first shelter for battered women and children, was opened. In November of 1999, the current confidential shelter facility – the 35-bed Wallace and Vannucci shelter, opened to residents. Davis businessman Dan Dowling donated a former school building to the agency and the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center moved into it’s current location in 2010. In January 2014, in an effort to more effectively encompass our vast programs and services, as well as highlight the connection between client, organization and community, the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center became Empower Yolo. Today, Empower Yolo is the county’s largest provider of services to women and children and only residential and counseling agency whose primary purpose is to provide specialized services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, dating violence, stalking, human trafficking and other forms of abuse.
On January 1, 2016, the Yolo Family Resource Center merged with Empower Yolo. Because of that merger Empower Yolo now also offers: financial coaching, credit counseling, rapid re-housing, homeless prevention and case management, making the Dowling Center a human services campus. We also offer a variety of programs for children, including Help Me Grow, Play School Experience, and the After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens (ASSETs) Program.