Bolton Refuge House services individuals affected by domestic violence, intimate partner violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Locations in Eau Claire, Jackson, and Buffalo Counties in Wisconsin provide services to thousands of adults and children each year. Many people who know about Bolton Refuge House will tell you about the shelter, but the majority of services are provided to people who do not stay in the emergency shelter. 

Bolton House Eau ClaireOfficer Robert Bolton


The Bolton Refuge House Story

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 Wisconsin's first Domestic Abuse Shelter. The "Women's Community Center" was incorporated in 1977 as “Refuge House". The shelter later moved into a church parsonage near Birch Street in Eau Claire. On October 6, 1982, Eau Claire Police Officer, Robert "Bob" Bolton, was responding to a domestic disturbance at the shelter. When Officer Bolton arrived at the scene, the suspect was entering his car. Officer Bolton attempted to stop the suspect but the man was able to 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. The Broadway Avenue shelter remained in operation until 2010. In 1991, Bolton Refuge House Inc. began operating a satellite office in Jackson County, WI. In 2004, Bolton Refuge House Inc. began operating the Buffalo County Outreach Office in Alma, WI. In 2016 the BCO office relocated to Mondovi, WI. Bolton Refuge House Inc. moved to the current location in April 2010. This facility allowed the expansion of the shelter from a 6-bedroom room facility to a fully accessible 18 bedroom facility with two high risk Transitional Living apartments. This facility also includes many private meeting spaces, support group rooms, staff offices, and children's play areas. A positive issue in the next 18 months will be securing funds, including donations, to complete the addition to the Farwell location. The Farwell Wing project will consist of six transitional units. Funding this project will save money and lives. Research consistently shows that domestic violence and sexual assault services reduce future violence and other related social costs.

Mission Statement

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.


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


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. 

Outreach Programs

1-1 Advocacy 

Bolton Refuge House has trained advocates who meet with victims to offer one-to-one attention. Advocates offer emotional support, information, and help filling out paperwork. Personal advocacy offers victims information about the different options available to them and supports victims decision-making. All staff at BRH are committed to maintaining the highest levels of confidentiality while communicating with victims. Information on victims legal rights and protections is provided along with helping the victim to plan for the highest degree of safety for their individual situation. Victims are often relieved to know that their community wants them to be safe and wants to help support their needs. If you would like to talk to an advocate please stop in the Eau Claire office or call anytime- (715)834-9578. Open 24/7

Jackson County Outreach

Bolton Refuge House-Jackson County Outreach, located in Merrillan, WI, provides services and support to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, intimate partner and dating violence, and stalking. Advocates provide supportive listening, legal advocacy, and court accompaniment, traditional housing, SANE advocacy, support groups and referrals to community resources. To contact a Jackson county advocate please call anytime- (715)333-2350. Open 24/7

Buffalo County Outreach

Bolton Refuge House- Buffalo County Outreach in Mondovi seeks to extend services to rural areas, where resources are often far an few between. Outreach advocates work to promote awareness and prevention in order to create lasting change from within the community. For survivors of domestic and sexual violence, partnerships throughout the county ensure that services can be provided quickly and efficiently. The Mondovi office offers walk-in appointments for options counseling, support groups, legal advocacy, court accompaniment, and referrals to area resources. To contact a Buffalo County advocate please call anytime- (715)926-6080. Open 24/7

Apoyo en Español

Bolton Refuge House Inc. crea un espacio seguro con programas y servicios para toda las personas afectadas por la violencia doméstica y el abuso sexual, y aboga por cambio social. Bolton Refuge House provee varios servicios incluso apoyo legal, apoyo para los niños, acompañamiento al corte, apoyo personal, planes de seguridad, grupos de apoyo, información y referencias y mucho más para ayudar a los individous en lograr la autosuficiencia. Todos los servicos son confidenciales y ofrecidos sin costo para el individuo. Su correo electrónico será enviado directamente a una asesora que le contestará tan pronto como sea posible. Si necesita hablar con alguien inmediatamente, se puede llamar a una asesora a cualquier hora (24/7) al número (715)834-9578

Kev Pab rau cov neeg Hmoob

Bolton Refuge House yog ib lub koom haum uas pab txhua tus tib neeg uas raug tsim txom. Xws li: mag ntaus, mag quab yuam ua plees ua yis, thiab koj tus txiv los koj tus poj niam hais lus saib tsis taus koj. Yog tshwm sim li no lawm, hu tuaj rau peb lub koom haum. Peb yuav pab tau koj. Peb lub koom haum yuav pab koj daws koj txoj kev nyuaj siab. Peb muaj ntau hom kev pab txhawb nqa neeg, xws li: nrog koj tham seb koj yuav ua li cas rau koj thiab koj tsev neeg, pab nrhiav kev nyab xeeb rau koj thiab koj cov me nyuam, thiab qhia koj txog kev pab txhawb nqa rau koj tus kheej. Peb thov kom koj tsis txhob txhawj txog thaum koj tham nrog peb tag lawm vim hais tias, peb yeej tsis mus qhia neeg sab nrauv. Ib puas tsav yam uas peb tham yuav nyob rau hauv peb lub koom haum no xwb. Yog koj xav sau ntawv rau peb, peb tus neeg Hmoob ua hauj lwm ntawm no mam teb koj. Yog koj xav tau kev pab, los yog koj xav tham rau ib tug neeg Hmoob ua hauj lwm ntawm peb, ces hu rau (715)834.9578


Support Groups

Bolton Refuge House support groups are a great way to connect and learn. One of the most important benefits of participating in a support group is a decreased sense of isolation that people feel when they have suffered trauma. In group, lots of feelings are expressed, validated by others, and accepted as normal. Freedom to express negative feelings in a safe space is necessary for emotional health and prevents overburdening loved ones. Participants learn to regain previous levels of coping or develop more effective coping skills. Improved coping skills ultimately enhances self-esteem. This newfound emotional strength helps the participant to better address other life issues. 

Domestic Violence Support Group

Mondays 4:30-5:30 PM in Merrillan
This group is designed for victims in various stages of trauma recovery to tell their unique story and draw strength from each other.
Please call ahead for more information: (715)333-2350

LGBTQIA+ Support Group

Mondays 5:00-6:00 PM in Eau Claire at Chippewa Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center
This group is specific to LGBTQIA+ victims of intimate partner violence and provides a holistic and LGBTQIA+ specific approach in addressing the dynamics unique to LGBTQIA+ people. 
Please call ahead for more information: (715)834-9578

Peer-to-Peer Support Group

Tuesdays 6:00-7:00 PM in Eau Claire
This group is designed for victims in various stages of trauma recovery to tell their unique story and draw strength from each other. 
Please call ahead for more information: (715)834-9578

Child & Youth Support Group

Tuesdays & Thursdays during Adult Support groups
Staff and trained volunteers provide a safe and supportive environment for children to thrive while their parents also heal in a supportive setting. 
For more information, call the Youth & Family Interactions Advocate at: (715)834-9578

Educational Support Group

Thursdays 6:30-8:00 PM in Eau Claire
Please call ahead for more information: (715)834-9578


Emergency Shelter & Hotline

Bolton Refuge House operates an 18-bedroom emergency shelter for individuals who are in imminent danger of violence in their current living situation. Each person's situation is unique, so anyone seeking shelter meets with an advocate to talk about their individual needs and learn about their options. Advocates are also available via a  telephone crisis line which is answered 24-hours a day, seven days per week, (including weekends and holidays). Victim Advocates are available to listen, to provide options, safety plan and share information and referrals with you. Call whenever you can; for immediate safety, for planning, or for processing for yourself or for someone you care about. All calls can remain anonymous.

Call now: (715)834-9578 or 855-5-BOLTON


Community Education

As part of the Bolton Refuge House Mission to advocate for social change, BRH Advocates are excited to offer speakers, presentations, curriculum, and other educational materials to the community. If you would like to request a speaker, information, or educational materials for yourself or your organization, please call 715.834.9578 for assistance

Abuse Later In Life 

Bolton Refuge House provides support services to individuals throughout the life span. Victim Advocates are available to provide support services 24 hrs. a day, 365 days a year. Support services include:

-One to One Supportive Listening 

-24 hour crisis counseling

-Personal Advocacy

-Court Support

-Emergency Shelter

-Legal Advocacy

-System Advocacy

All services are confidential and at no cost to the individual.

Bolton Refuge House, Inc. strives to assist individuals to feel safe, empowered and supported when they are being hurt, abused, taken advantage of, or controlled by a loved one, friend, family member or other persons.

Legal Advocacy 

Bolton Refuge House provides legal advocacy in Buffalo, Eau Claire and Jackson counties. Throughout this process Bolton Refuge House strives to inform victims of their legal rights and responsibilities.  The Legal Advocate accompanies victims to hearings, assists with legal aid information and referrals, provides and explains restraining order/injunction process, provides assistance in accessing law enforcement, assists in filing for Crime Victim Rights application, and provides assistance in accessing the Victim Witness Program. Legal Advocates are available by drop in or appointments. All Victim Advocates are available for information and referrals. Bolton Refuge House, Inc. does not give legal advice. 

Youth and Family Advocacy 

Violence affects people of all ages so Bolton Refuge House, Inc strives to meet the unique needs of each family served. Through the Youth and Family Advocacy Program, advocates are able to provide one to ones and mentoring, as well as support groups for youth who have been affected by domestic violence. Both adults and youth are able to participate in dog therapy in individual or group settings. Partnerships with area schools help ensure that the educational needs of children are not interrupted due to domestic violence and also provides opportunities to educate youth in a classroom setting about domestic violence and the aspects of a healthy relationship. The Youth and Family Advocacy Program supports and educates all victims of violence within a family in order to stop the cycle of violence and to foster healing along the way.

LGBTQIA+ Advocacy 

Every person deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. Because this statement is at the heart of  the services provided at Bolton Refuge House, the LGBTQ+ Services Program is available to help meet the needs of LGBTQ+ victims and survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual assault. Bolton Refuge House provides shelter, support groups, outreach services, legal advocacy, and has partnerships throughout the community to meet the specific needs of LGBTQ+ people who have experienced intimate partner violence. Explore this page to learn more about the programs and services available to LGBTQ+ Individuals. You can also contact one of the LGBTQ+ Advocates by completing the form below or by calling the office at (715)834-9578

Dog Therapy 

Through a partnership with Therapy Dogs International, Bolton Refuge House began offering dog therapy to victims of domestic violence in 2014. Currently, three beautiful dogs come on a weekly basis to assist in the healing process for both adults and children.
For more information, please call the Family Interactions Advocate at (715)834-9578

Safe Dates Program

Safe Dates is an evidence-based program used to teach adolescence about dating violence and the difference between abusive relationships and healthy relationships. The Safe Dates Program is offered to all schools and other youth programs in Eau Claire County. For more information on Safe Dates, please call the Family Interactions Advocate at (715)834-9578

Food Group

Every Wednesday evening, at 4PM, clients are invited to join in on a self-sufficiency food group. This group is lead by two volunteers who teach the clients how to make nutritious meals using mostly items available from our food pantry. If you have ever gone to a food pantry, you know that there are many items that are a bit strange or items that you might not regularly cook with, but can make fantastic meals. The group leaders take things like canned sweet potatoes and black beans, or a jar of pumpkin puree and show how that can become a tasty and healthful meal (sweet potato enchiladas or pumpkin pasta, anyone?!) This group is providing knowledge to the clients that they can take with them for the rest of their lives. They are learning ways to make healthier choices when picking out food, as well as learning cooking tips and tricks that they might not have otherwise known. Some of the recent tips have been incorporating hidden vegetables into your meals, choosing fruits canned in juice verses fruits canned in syrup, and basic kitchen instructions such as how to chop an onion or how to mince garlic. We are teaching kitchen skills that can be used anywhere.


Get Involved!

There are many ways to get involved at Bolton Refuge House! Everything from volunteering yourself or your group, applying for an internship, donating items or money, or engaging in a community call to action is available by clicking the links to the right. If you would like to become involved in a different way, feel free to contact us here!

Volunteer at BRH                                                           


Individual Volunteer
Volunteer My Group
FAQ About Volunteering 

Apply to be a BRH Intern 

Bolton Refuge House, Inc. offers a variety of internships for individuals looking to gain valuable knowledge of the non-profit domestic violence/sexual assault services field. There are three internship sessions each year: Spring (January-May), Summer (May-August), and Fall (September-December) and concurrent internships are also available (summer/fall, fall/spring, spring/summer) Internship options include victim services, administrative professional, community relations, business management, marketing, or develop your own. Click here for more information.  If you have questions, Email the BRH Volunteer Coordinator  for more information. 

Apply for Work-Study Placement

Bolton Refuge House, Inc. serves as a placement site thought the Federal Work Study Program for several institutions of higher learning. Through this placement, students are employed through their university or college, but serve their community via placement at BRH. This placement is mutually beneficial as students are able to gain experience in their field of study while helping BRH fulfill program needs. Work study students gain valuable knowledge of the non-profit domestic violence/sexual assault services field, are able to apply knowledge from their course work, and earn money to pay for college. Work-Study options include victims advocate, limited English proficiency advocate (Spanish and/or Hmong), youth & family interactions assistant, community relations (including marketing), graphic design, and maintenance. Click here for more information. 

Click Here For the Bolton Refuge House Calendar Of Events


Contact Us

PO Box 482 Eau Claire, WI 54702

Eau Clare Co: (715)834-9578

Jackson Co: (715)333-2350

Buffalo Co: (715)926-6080

(Lines open 24/7)


Executive Director: Patricia Stein

[email protected]

Assistant Director: Kim Carey

Facebook Page



Community Resources

National Council for Aging Care

Aging & Disability Resource Center of Eau Claire County

Aging & Disability Resource Center of Jackson County 

Aging & Disability Resource Center of Buffalo County 

National Clearinghouse on Abuse Later in Life

Chippewa Valley LGBTQIA+ Resource Guide 

Safe Spaces Coalition of the Chippewa Valley 

Chippewa Valley LGBTQIA+ Community Center

UW Eau Claire Gender and Sexuality Resource Center

UW Stout LGBTQIA+ Program Office

Queer Menomonie

Kings Closet- Free Clothing to Those in Need 

Stepping Stones Food, Shelter, & Support

The Bridge to Hope Shelter 

Grassroots Wellness Peer Support