Our Mission, Vision, Values, and History


BRH Mission:

Bolton Refuge House Inc. creates safe space through programs and services for all persons impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault, and advocates for social change.

BRH Vision:

Bolton Refuge House, Inc. envisions a world in which all persons have the right to safety, dignity, respect, and self-determination.

BRH Values:

All persons have the right to feel safe and exercise control over their lives. Emotion and physical Safety enables the work to begin.

Respect begins where the other person is and recognizing the inherent dignity of the other.

Bolton Refuge House, Inc. is an extender of Grace, recognizing the Dignity of each person and the need for compassion and unconditional acceptance.

Bolton Refuge House History:

In 1976, a group of concerned community women developed the idea of a Women’s Community Center. Before the center even opened, they received a call from the local police department, asking them to provide shelter for a woman and her children who were fleeing a domestic violence situation. In response to that call, The Women’s Community Center was opened as “Refuge House” and was incorporated in 1977 as Wisconsin’s first domestic abuse shelter. Refuge House later moved into a church parsonage near Birch Street in Eau Claire.

On October 6, 1982, Eau Claire Police Officer, Robert Bolton, was responding to a domestic disturbance at the shelter. When Officer Bolton arrived at the scene, the man was entering his car. Officer Bolton was attempting to stop the suspect but the man was able fatally shoot Officer Bolton. In 1987, the shelter moved to Broadway Avenue and was renamed Bolton Refuge House Inc. in honor of Officer Robert Bolton.

In 1991, Bolton Refuge House Inc. began operating a satellite office in Jackson County and in 2003, Bolton Refuge House Inc. assumed responsibility for the Buffalo County Domestic Violence Program. Today, Bolton Refuge House offers support and services for survivors of domestic violence and/or sexual assault, and their children.