About Us

Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence (API Institute) is a national resource center on domestic violence, sexual violence, trafficking, and other forms of gender-based violence in Asian and Pacific Islander communities. It serves a national network of advocates, community-based organizations, national and state programs, legal, health, and mental health professionals, researchers, policy advocates and activists from social justice organizations working to eliminate violence against women. It analyzes and addresses critical issues; provides consultation, technical assistance and training; conducts research; and engages in policy advocacy.

Its mission is to build gender equality and prevent domestic violence in Asian and Pacific Islander communities. Its vision of gender democracy drives its goals to strengthen culturally-relevant advocacy, promote prevention and community engagement, and influence public policy and systems change.

The API Institute works to eliminate domestic violence in Asian and Pacific Islander communities by

  • increasing awareness about the extent and depth of the problem;
  • making culturally-and linguistically-specific issues visible;
  • strengthening community models of prevention and intervention;
  • identifying and expanding resources;
  • informing and promoting research and policy; and
  • deepening understanding and analyses of the issues surrounding violence against women.

Our History

Since the early 1980s, Asian and Pacific Islander activists in the battered women’s movement have struggled to address the problem of domestic violence in their ethnic communities, and services and advocacy to support Asian and Pacific Islander battered women began to emerge. In 1981, the first shelter program for API women and children started in Los Angeles, followed by similar efforts in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, San Jose, New Jersey, Boston and Seattle. Soon, community interest increased and activists and agencies began to organize. In California in 1997, Asian Women’s Shelter in collaboration with Nihonmachi Legal Outreach, Narika and Cameron House, organized a statewide conference on domestic violence in Asian communities. Over 400 advocates and activists attended the conference. Additional efforts have followed: a Korean conference in Los Angeles, a South Asian conference in New York, and a pan-Asian one in Ohio.

In 1997, a partnership formed between the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF), Futures Without Violence (formerly Family Violence Prevention Fund), and the Asian Women's Shelter (AWS) to address the need for a national vehicle to bring together the many local efforts by Asian anti-domestic violence activists to address the problem of domestic violence in their ethnic communities.

In 1998, members from this partnership met for the first time in Washington, D.C. They strategized to build a network that would facilitate sharing ideas about service models for Asian battered women and children; influence data collection and research from a participatory action model, and to impact policy, fund development and research at the national level. Members also identified the need to promote national discussions on critical issues such as community perceptions of domestic violence, community responses to the problem, and the cultural values that intersect both.

On August 28, 1999, over 80 people attended the first national meeting of the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence in Chicago; in conjunction with the Next Millennium Conference: Ending Domestic Violence.

October 2000 marks the formal establishment of the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence (API Institute), initially as a part of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum.

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Who We Are


Firoza Chic Dabby, Co-Director
Email: cdabby[at]api-gbv[dot]org
Phone: 415.568.3315

Firoza Chic Dabby is a Co-Director of the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence, a national resource center engaged in advocacy, research, policy, training, technical assistance provision, and analyzing critical issues on violence against Asian and Pacific Islander women. Before that she was the Executive Director of Narika, a helpline for abused South Asian women; and worked at the Psychological Services Center for 17 years. Chic has been in the domestic violence field for thirty years and along the way has acquired some expertise on violence against Asian women; strategies for advocacy, community engagement, systems change, and movement building; the psychological and economic effects of violence over the lifecourse; violence over the lifecourse and its influence on help-seeking; trafficking; intimate homicide; child custody; battered mothers in the child welfare system; and sexual violence, particularly in conflict zones. She writes, trains and presents extensively about these and many other issues.

She serves on the following Advisory Committees:

  • Battered Women's Justice Project: Civil, Criminal and Defense Divisions;
  • Domestic Violence Department of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges;
  • Domestic Violence Department of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges; and
  • Taskforce on Domestic Violence & Child Custody Evaluations of the Association of Family & Conciliation Courts.
  • From 2008-2011, she served on the Advisory Committee of the American Bar Association's Commission on Domestic Violence.

Chic is interested in how culture and gender inform our approaches to effective advocacy. As an activist and a feminist, she is interested in how the movement's collective experience, knowledge and outrage can be applied to stop violence against women.

Chic speaks Hindi, Gujerati, Marathi and French with varying degrees of fluency. Between Bombay and Berkeley, she has lived in London, Cambridge, Paris and Kathmandu.

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Beckie Masaki, Co-Director
Email: bmasaki[at]api-gbv[dot]org
Phone: 415.568.3314

Beckie Masaki, MSW, has worked in the movement to end violence against women for over twenty-eight years. She is a Co-Director of the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence. Beckie co-founded one of the first VAW programs in the nation that could meet the language and cultural needs of Asian survivors of domestic violence and trafficking, Asian Women's Shelter (AWS) in San Francisco, and served as the founding Executive Director for over twenty-one years, from July 1988 through January 2010. Beckie has extensive experience in providing multilingual, multicultural services to domestic violence and trafficking survivors and their children, innovative program development, prevention, community building, policy-making, and institutional advocacy.

Beckie has provided peer-based training, technical assistance, and facilitation to a wide range of groups on local, state, national and international levels. She currently serves as faculty and advisor in collaboration with CompassPoint Non Profit Services/ Blue Shield Against Violence Strong Field Project, Futures Without Violence, Praxis International, and the National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence.

She is on the advisory committee for the NoVo Foundation in shaping a VAW movement building initiative. Past advisory and steering committee roles include Department of Defense Task Force on Domestic Violence, National Advisory Committee for the Greenbook Project, California Domestic Violence Advisory Committee, and founding steering committee of the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence. She has received numerous awards in recognition of her work including the 2010 Flame of Justice Award, Chinese for Affirmative Action; 2009 Roselyn C. Swig Award, Domestic Violence Consortium/ Partners Ending Domestic Abuse; 2009 Extraordinary Woman Award, Flyaway Productions; 2005 Sister of Fire Award, Women of Color Resource Center; 1999 Next Millennium Award for Community Organizing; and 1998 California Peace Prize from The California Wellness Foundation.

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Cannon Han, ITARC Project Coordinator
Email: chan[at]api-gbv[dot]org
Phone: 415.568.3326

Cannon Han is the Project Coordinator of the Interpretation Technical Assistance and Resource Center (ITARC) at the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence.Cannon is responsible for developing, coordinating and managing ITARC, which provides technical assistance, trainings, guidelines, and strategies for direct service agencies to improve language access for domestic violence victims.

Prior to joining the API Institute, he was a Senior Court Services Analyst with the California Administrative Office of the Courts Court Interpreters Program. He was responsible for oversight and training on California court interpreter ethics and professional standards, interpreter recruitment, language access in the courts, and interpreters for the deaf and hard of hearing. He also worked as a direct legal services attorney and in private practice.

Cannon received his B.A. from the University of California at Los Angeles, and his J.D. from UC Hastings.

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Wendy Lau, ITARC Project Coordinator
Email: wlau[at]api-gbv[dot]org
Phone: 415.568.3338

Wendy Lau is the Project Coordinator of the Interpretation Technical Assistance and Resource Center (ITARC) at the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence. She is responsible for developing, coordinating and managing the Interpretation Technical Assistance & Resource Center, which provides technical assistance, trainings, guidelines, and strategies for direct service agencies to improve language access for domestic violence victims.

During law school, she interned at the D.C. Language Access Coalition in Washington D.C. and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund in New York City. Prior to law school, she was the Program Coordinator at the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center where she was responsible for managing the Legal Interpreter Project and provided insight in the creation of the nation's first community interpreter bank in Washington D.C. She also assisted in providing legal services to API victims of domestic violence.

Wendy received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington and her J.D. from the Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law in Washington, D.C.

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Ada Palotai, Project Coordinator, Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Initiative
Email: apalotai[at]api-gbv[dot]org
Phone: 415.438.7806

Ada Palotai is currently the Project Coordinator of the Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Initiative at the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence. Representing API-GBV as a Culturally Specific Technical Assistance Provider on a national White House-driven initiative to prevent domestic violence-related homicides, she coordinates targeted training and technical assistance on culturally specific issues in homicide prevention affecting Asian communities and on cultural competency best practices.

Ada began her career working to end violence against women in 2001, at a shelter-based victim advocacy organization in Los Angeles. During her tenure there, she served in a number of capacities, starting as front-line staff implementing new protocols to screen new welfare applicants for domestic violence and connect those identified to services, and moved quickly into management positions where she developed and oversaw critical programs, supervised and trained staff, wrote and administered grants, and ensured compliance with multiple contracts. With a talent for thinking of old problems in new ways, she was charged with identifying and filling gaps in services, often completely redesigning programs to implement best or promising practices, or creating new and innovative programs centered around primary prevention of violence and related social problems. She developed and pioneered cutting edge programming, and revamped agency policies and practices, so that the organization could have a more targeted focus - driven by root causes rather than symptomology - and to be more responsive to the evolving community. Most recently, Ada worked with leaders of multiple governmental and non-governmental organizations in Santa Monica, California, to implement a city-wide initiative aimed at changing cultural norms around masculinity and violence. Ada now lives in Oakland with her two dogs, and pursues fashion as a hobby in her free time.

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Cristy Chung, Operations and Program Manager
Email: cchung[at]api-gbv[dot]org
Phone: 415.568.3319

Cristy Chung is currently the Program and Operations Manager at Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence. She has over twenty-five years of experience working in the anti-violence movement. Cristy began this work at UCSC in the Women's Studies and Sociology departments. Cristy joined the staff at the Asian Women's Shelter in San Francisco in the first year the shelter opened. During her 10 years there Cristy started their volunteer program, founded their Queer Asian Women's program, lead their Multi-lingual Access Model program, and helped the shelter find a permanent home. In recent years Cristy has focused her social justice and social change work on community mobilization and school climate change in the education system that engages the entire community - educators, administrators, parents/care givers, students and local community members.

Cristy has worked extensively in the fields of diversity and anti-bias education, school climate change, cross-cultural service delivery, domestic violence intervention and prevention, and LGBT inclusive curriculum building. She is an experienced leader, trainer, facilitator, writer and community organizer. She is the parent of 3 teenage girls that inform her work on a daily basis. She is currently interested in conversations about working at the intersections of race, gender and sexuality and ways to build our work across fields. Cristy is committed to finding creative solutions that offer us innovative opportunities to build sustain the changes we desire.

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Susan Ghanbarpour, DrPH, MA, Project Specialist, Evidence-Based Practice
Email: sghanbarpour[at]api-gbv[dot]org
Phone: 415.568.3312

Susan Ghanbarpour, DrPH, MA, is the Project Specialist for Evidence-Based Practice at the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence. In this role, she provides training, technical assistance and resources to domestic violence programs serving Asian and Pacific Islanders, who are interested in incorporating evidence-based practice and trauma-informed care into their work. She is a public health professional with over 14 years of experience in program management and evaluation, community outreach, health policy, and public health research. Her experience includes successfully leading complex multisite health programs, forging partnerships with diverse stakeholders, and developing culturally-relevant health education and promotion programs for underserved ethnic and racial minority communities.

Dr. Ghanbarpour's research has focused on improving access and services for vulnerable populations, including low-income women and children, and survivors of intimate partner violence. Most recently, she conducted qualitative research to examine how and why victims of intimate partner violence use safety strategies to protect themselves and their families from the recurrence of violence. Her expertise and interests include domestic violence, women's health, community-based participatory research (CBPR), and health disparities and inequalities.

Dr. Ghanbarpour received her DrPH from the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, MA in Health Policy from New York University, and BA in Chemistry from Cornell University.

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Sarah Khan, Project Specialist, Economic Security
Email: skhan[at]api-gbv[dot]org
Phone: 415.568.3339

Sarah Khan is currently, the Economic Security Project Specialist at the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence. She most recently worked at Maitri, a non-profit established in 1991 to empower South Asian survivors of domestic violence, cultural alienation, family conflict and human trafficking. She joined Maitri in 2004 with a longstanding passion for grassroots activism, domestic violence advocacy, and community education and empowerment as their first full time Coordinator, Program Director and Executive Director.

She is currently a Board member of the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (CPEDV). Among her numerous advisory and committee positions she has been the vice-chair administration, Commissioner on the Santa Clara County Domestic Violence Council, member of the Immigrant Voices and Survivor Committee, Police Victim Advocacy Committee and the South Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking, a collaborative of community-based nonprofits providing comprehensive services to victims of trafficking in the counties of Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz. She is also a part of the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence (API-GBV) Gathering Strength Committee which focuses on gender equity for immigrants and refugees across in California's Asian Pacific Islander communities.

Prior to Maitri, Sarah worked with Unified New Cassel Community Revitalization Corporation in New York. She also volunteered and advocated for survivors of domestic violence at the Islamic Center of Long Island. Originally from Kashmir and settled in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family, Sarah is fluently multilingual in Urdu, Hindi, Kashmiri, and Tamil. She has a BA in History (Hons.), MA in Political Science and an M. Phil in International Relations from New Delhi, India.

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Nancy Wan, API Institute Program Coordinator
Email: nwan[at]api-gbv[dot]org
Phone: 415.568.3313

Nancy Wan is a Program Coordinator at the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence (API Institute), a national resource center on domestic violence, sexual violence, trafficking, and other forms of gender-based violence in Asian and Pacific Islander (API) communities. As Program Coordinator, Nancy manages the API Institute's Resource Center - its publications, website, listservs, and databases; and provides technical assistance to domestic violence agencies and advocates across the U.S. Since 2012, Nancy has co-led Gathering Strength: Immigrant & Refugee Communities Ending Domestic Violence, a project dedicated to investing in the capacity of API advocates to be leaders in the movement, and to promoting grassroots cultural/social norms change as a strategy to "increase [survivors'] access to culturally competent, culturally responsive DV services" from the ground-up. Nancy is passionate about and committed to the possibilities of building the collective power of those most impacted to end violence in and across communities. Nancy also volunteers regularly in the Children's Program at Asian Women's Shelter (AWS), helping children heal by developing trusting, supportive relationships with them, and she serves on its Board of Directors.

Previously, while at the Women's Funding Network (WFN), a global coalition of over 100 women's and girls' funds, Nancy developed a deep concern with the availability of resources for women's rights organizing and movement-building, and she continues to be engaged in participatory grantmaking and social change philanthropy as a member of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP), Spark, and Resource Generation. Nancy received her master's degree in Nonprofit Administration from the University of San Francisco, her master's degree in Women's Studies from San Francisco State University, and bachelor's degrees in Anthropology, Women & Gender Studies, and Asian American Studies from the University of California, Davis. Born in Macau, China and raised in San Francisco, Nancy's native language is Cantonese.

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What We Do

  • Analyze Critical Issues trends and policies affecting Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander victims/survivors of gender-based violence;
  • Capacity Building and leadership development in established and start-up programs;
  • Interpretation Technical Assistance & Resource Center focuses on advocacy, training and technical assistance on implementing Title VI, manuals and briefs on spoken language interpretation, working with and obtaining certified court interpreters;
  • Policy Advocacy on custody, funding for culturally & linguistically specific services, language access for domestic violence victims with limited English proficiency;
  • Publications such as bibliographies, directories, fact sheets, reports, technical assistance briefs;
  • Research compiling ethnic-specific data; primary research on criminal justice responses, help-seeking behavior, domestic violence related homicides;
  • Resource Center on funding opportunities, glossaries, policy briefs, promising practices, research reports, translated materials;
  • Technical Assistance on domestic violence, sexual violence, trafficking; and
  • Training advocates and social and legal service providers at national, regional, state-wide and metro-area conferences on culturally-relevant intervention and prevention models and community engagement strategies.

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