Our History & Mission

In 1986, Asians made up 2.4 percent of the total population in Massachusetts and were primarily immigrants and refugees within the Greater Boston area. Most of these immigrants had little to no knowledge of English since it was not their native language and this played a pivotal role in creating socio-cultural barriers. Asian women who became victims of domestic violence, lived within the confines of these barriers and remained unaware of the assistance they could avail from the outside world. The inception of ATASK in 1992, created the fundamental link between the unrepresented Asian victims of domestic violence and available resources for the first time in the history of Massachusetts.

ATASK began with the vision of founder Reverend Cheng Imm Tan, who mobilized a group of volunteers in Boston over 25 years ago to address important gaps in services and access for Asian immigrant victims of domestic violence.  Incorporated in 1992, the Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence (ATASK) has operated New England’s only multilingual emergency shelter, advocacy services, outreach, and education programs for battered Asian adults and their children.

ATASK’s mission is to empower Asian survivors of domestic violence and abuse to rebuild their lives.  Our work bridges language and cultural gaps for Asian communities and advocates for social change. 

ATASK has a proud heritage of innovation. The following are highlights from ATASK’s history:

  • 1993: First Chinese, Cambodian, and Vietnamese advocates hired. Established the first emergency shelter for battered Asian women in Greater Boston
  • 1995: 24-hour multilingual helpline in service
  • 1997: Created a satellite program in Lowell, which primarily assists the Cambodian community
  • 1998: First South Asian and Korean advocates hired
  • 2000: Published the Asian Family Violence Report, by Professor Marianne Yushioka, Ph.D., of Columbia University
  • 2003: Published ATASK’s Asian teen dating violence curriculum
  • 2004: Hosted the first New England Regional Domestic Violence Forum
  • 2005: Began the onsite Life Skills/English for Speakers of Other Languages Program
  • 2009: Launched Legal Advocacy Program
  • 2010: Began Transitional Housing Program
  • 2011: Legal Advocacy Program started in Lowell
  • 2016: Began the Language Access Program 

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