Domestic Violence and Intimate Partner Violence

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If you are in immediate danger, please dial 911

Domestic Violence Resources

Below are some resources that may help you in this difficult time. All of the resources listed are free and confidential, and none will force you to leave a relationship or take legal action in order to take advantage of the resources and services provided, if you are not comfortable doing so. Remember that you do not have to be in crisis to speak to someone about your experiences or concerns of domestic abuse.

In a dangerous or immediately threatening situation, always call 911 first, to keep yourself and your children safe.

MA SafeLink 24/7 Hotline 1-877-785-2020

  • The best first step for guidance on how to approach your situation
  • Directly connects women to immediate shelter and long-term housing options in Mass.
  • Assists with safety planning, crisis intervention, as well as supportive listening and guidance
  • Multilingual counselors, and access to translation service for over 130 languages

National Domestic Violence 24/7 Hotline 1-800-799-7233

  • Provides immediate support and guidance, as well as brainstorming help for appropriate next steps
  • Also offers free support via live chat on their website ( between 8am and 3am EST, if you are not able to access a safe phone

Boston Area Rape Crisis Center 1-800-841-8371

  • Discusses options with patients immediately following a rape or sexual assault
  • Can provide a free rape crisis advocate to accompany a patient to the hospital following an assault

Passageway at BWH 1-617-732-8753

  • Offers legal advocacy services, safety planning, counseling, support groups, and referrals to outside resources like housing & lawyers
  • Offers services in English and Spanish, with access to interpreters for other languages
  • Locations at BWH, Faulkner Hospital, Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center, Brookside Community Health Center, Whittier Street Health Center, and Mission Hill Community
  • At times other than M-F 8:30-5:30, call 1-617-732-5520, ext. 31808 to page advocate-on-call

HAVEN at MGH 1-617-724-0054

  • Provides support groups, counseling, advocacy, workshops, safety planning, resource referrals, and supportive accompaniment to court and other appointments
  • Locations at MGH, as well as in Chelsea and Revere
  • Offers multi-lingual support through bilingual counselors and on-call translators
  • At times other than M-F 8:30-5:30, call 1-617-726-2241 to page advocate-on-call

When you call a program, you can expect to find:

  • Someone who cares and can help. All programs have trained advocates who can talk with you about your situation, your safety, and your options. They can also help you identify and obtain housing, legal and medical support as well as shelters, services and other resources for you and your children. Programs can also help family members, friends, and colleagues with concerns. Sometimes you just need someone to listen.
  • Safety planning. If you are in immediate danger, or are thinking about leaving the perpetrator, hotline advocates can talk through a safety plan with you over the phone.
  • Information about your rights. You may have questions about whether you have to notify the police or your school. You may have questions about moving out of state, especially if you have children in common with the person abusing you. Advocates can help you find answers.
  • Advocacy services. All programs have trained advocates to help with common concerns including: safety, health, family and children services, welfare, immigration, housing, legal issues, medical issues, and more.
  • Referrals to programs. Advocates can help you find the kinds of services you or someone you care about need:
  • Support groups for children, youth, and adults. Support groups can offer a chance to meet others who have had similar experiences and is an important part of healing.
  • Legal advocacy. You may have questions about restraining orders, criminal or civil matters, or how to keep your children safe. All programs can provide assistance in obtaining a restraining order for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. Some programs offer legal advocacy. Some may provide legal counsel and others may work with you to find an attorney.
  • Crisis services. Many programs offer 24-hour access through their hotline to services for those in crisis.
  • Emergency shelter. Many programs offer temporary shelter or safe homes.
  • Transitional housing. Some programs have longer term housing for victims and survivors.

Protective Orders

A restraining order, also referred to as a 209A protective order, is one option for you to consider in seeking safety from your abusive partner. The information below describes court orders and answers to commonly asked questions such as how to get one, how they are enforced and how to make a decision about seeking an order.

A legal advocate can make getting a protective order less confusing, and his/her services are free. Call the MA SafeLink hotline at 1-877-785-2020 or ask at the court to be referred to a free legal advocate.

How to Get a Protective Order

  1. Go to the Clerk’s Office at the courthouse in your community and complete an affidavit requesting a restraining order.
  2. You will then need to go before a judge, who will ask you questions about your safety and has the authority to grant a temporary (10 day) restraining order at that time. You will be given a copy to carry with you at all times and a copy to file with the police.
  3. The court will tell the police that the order has been issued and the police will then serve the abuser with the order. You should tell the court the whereabouts of the abuser. If there is a vacate order, the police can enforce this by being at your home as the abuser leaves.
  4. Within 10 days you will attend another hearing where your abuser may be present to tell his/her side of the story. This may be very difficult, and it helps to have an advocate present for support. You will tell your story again, and at this time the judge can extend the 209A protective order for up to a year.
  5. To get an emergency protection order on holidays, nights, or weekends, call the police. They will contact an emergency response judge. If the abuser violates this order, call the police immediately. Violation of this order is a criminal offense, and penalties can include jail terms.

Who is Eligible:

  • The law for 209A restraining orders covers those people who are or have been in any of the following relationships:
  • A substantive dating relationship
  • Living together in the same household
  • Engaged or married
  • Have a child together
  • Related by blood or marriage

Types of Protective Orders:

  • Restraining Order: Your abuser must not come near you or abuse you again. In Massachusetts, all restraining orders require that the abuser surrender any firearms and licenses to carry a firearm.
  • Vacate Order: Your abuser must move out of the shared residence.
  • Child Support Order: You will receive temporary support for your children.
  • Custody Order: You will receive temporary custody of your children.
  • Restitution Order: You will receive repayment for lost wages, medical expenses, or other costs and damages.

Click here to download a helpful safety planning checklist