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About Us • About Us • About Abuse in Mexico • How You Can Help

Gender violence has reached epidemic proportions in Mexico. Every day 10 women are killed in Mexico for simply being women. Nationwide over 66% of women report experiencing at least one episode of gender violence.

Safe shelter must be available for women in extreme violence situations and at risk of death.

Compassion for the Family operates a shelter in the Puerto Vallarta area for women and their children in such situations. Families are provided safe refuge and at the same time they prepared to live a life free of violence. Our staff of psychologists, social workers, lawyers, teachers, nurses and others work day in and day out with the women and their children teaching them how to live a life without violence and provide them with the tools that they need to be independent of their aggressors.

For more information about the shelter and how you can become involved please contact or 322-278-9950.

About Compassion for the Family

Compassion for the Family takes domestic violence and sexual assault against women very seriously. It is imperative that women and their children be offered a safe refuge.

Compassion for the Family is committed to providing this service that is so badly needed in Puerto Vallarta. In order to provide this service, Compassion for the Family will construct and operate a shelter in a discrete location in the greater Puerto Vallarta area. Non-disclosure of location of the facility is imperative if the organization is to be able to provide a safe refuge.

Compassion for the Family does not actively seek out women that are sexually assaulted or physically abused. We do not remove women from an abusive environment nor does it involve itself in domestic disturbances.

We accept women and their children to the shelter exclusively by DIF - Desarrollo Integral de la Familia (the social services organization in Puerto Vallarta).


In February 2008,  I was in Puerto Vallarta with a missions group from Colorado. The group was building a house for a family in a very poor neighborhood. I had been feeling the need to do more than just go on a mission trip a few times a year, something more permanent. We had a rest day during the trip and that day I decided to go to social services and talk with the people there about the needs of the community.

I was told that there are many needs in the community, but the one thing that is needed more than anything is a shelter for battered women and their children because there are none. That was the incentive that I needed. In 2009 I formed the US not for profit corporation, Compassion for the Family.

In 2010 the Mexican not for profit was formed. Later that same year I decided to take an early retirement for my job and in December I was living full time in Mexico. I had enough money to buy a lot where the shelter would be built and pour the building foundation, but that was it. I didn´t even have an idea of where the money would come from.

Despite that lack of secure funding we started building in June 2011. That same year I was introduced to a woman, Freda who I was told could help us raise funds for the building. In February 2012 we had our first fundraising event. During the following 3 years the shelter slowly came into shape and in December 2014 the shelter was ready to open! There it was, more or less completed and paid for, but nobody to staff the shelter. We searched for people who would be willing to staff the shelter as volunteers because there was no money to pay them! We needed a director, social worker, psychologists, nurses, a teacher, a lawyer and auxiliary personnel.

Slowly the staff was put together and some funds came available to start paying them. Today we have a staff of 13 people serving women and children, providing them with everything that they need to prepare themselves to live a life free of violence.

In June 2017 we opened the Free Life External Resource Center in Tepic, Nayarit. The center is staffed by volunteer psychologists, social workers and lawyers who provide free services to women and their children in domestic violence situations.

Project Staff:

The Banderas Bay Women´s Shelter is dedicated to protect the lives of women and children in situations of domestic violence and prepare them to live a life free of violence.

The shelter is staffed with a director, an adult psychologist, a child psychologist, an educational psychologist, a social worker, a teacher, a lawyer, a nutritionist and 24 nursing staff.

A Little About Abuse in Mexico

Every 15 minutes a Mexican woman is attacked in her own home, and every year thousands of Mexican women die a violent death, with a daily average of five deceased. According to the National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH), Mexico is among the 15 nations of the world with more female victims of violent homicides. In Latin America, between 30% and 45% of the women have been victims of violence, either physical, sexual or psychological.

Thousands of Mexican women who survive violence in their homes are being put at risk of further abuse by a justice system that often fails to take their safety seriously, said Amnesty International. Amnesty International's report explores the obstacles Mexican women face when trying to report cases of domestic violence – including the refusal of officials to accept complaints, deficient investigations and poor enforcement of protective measures.

The report is being published 18 months after Mexico passed a law to counter violence against women. Violence against women in the home in Mexico – as in many other parts of the world - is endemic. According to a national survey conducted in 2006, one in four women have suffered abuse at the hands of their partner and 82 per cent of women decided not to report it.

Women who find the courage to report the abuse are often treated with indifference and have to prove they are subject to violence. In many cases, officials even ask them to deliver summons to their aggressor. On August 31, 2005, Marcela's former husband broke into her house in the state of Sonora and stabbed her, leaving her paralyzed for four months. Over the years, Marcela had made over 10 complaints to the public prosecutor's office about the abuse she was suffering but every time she was advised to resolve the issue directly with her partner. One time, she was told "when you come with a bruise, we'll do something." After the stabbing, Marcela's former husband was prosecuted for attempted murder and sentenced to 10 years but is now appealing the length of his sentence. Marcela is scared that when he is released he will find her and kill her.

"What women in Mexico need is to have their complaints of abuse taken seriously and to be able to access justice as well as effective protection mechanisms such as refuges", said Kerrie.

On the second anniversary of the passing of the General Law on Women's Access to a Life Free From Violence, Amnesty International said the law has had no impact in the majority of Mexico's 32 states.

According to information received by Amnesty International, there are a total of 60 shelters for women victims of violence in Mexico – those run by the authorities and those run by voluntary organizations included. This number is still completely inadequate in relation to the demand.

"There is a clear and deplorable lack of state-level commitment to implement the General Law on Women's Access to a Life Free From Violence," said Kerrie, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for the Americas Program. "In practice, this lack of commitment means that the safety and lives of thousands of women are put in jeopardy."

Amnesty International believes it is essential to create and implement criminal investigation protocols for use by staff of the public prosecutor's office, the police and experts when dealing with women filing complaints of abuse. These protocols must include an obligation to provide sufficient protection to guarantee the safety of the woman and her family.

How You Can Help Compassion for the Family

Donate to Compassion for the Family

Compassion for the Family relies on the generosity of our private and corporate sponsors to ensure that our shelter is there when it’s needed most.

Our doors are open 365 days a year to women and children facing violence or danger in the household, and your generosity can make the difference in the lives of those we help in their hour of need.

We are always in need of donations of school supplies, hygiene products and clothing for children as well as underwear for women and children of all ages.

To make a financial donation or to initiate a monthly recurring donation, kindly click on Donations. We accept Paypal, Credit Cards, Bank Transfer, Payment by Check.

Donations are tax deductible for US and Mexican citizens.

Last updated: June 20, 2023 · Charity ID: 505

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