Interpersonal Safety

Headline:

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, launched nationwide in 1987 to connect and unite people working on domestic violence issues and to raise awareness.

Last-reviewed: 9am, Oct. 6, 2022

Key Resources:

The Basics:

  • If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911.
  • On July 16, 2022, the new 988 mental health, suicide prevention, and crisis response hotline launched nationwide. Learn more here.
  • Interpersonal safety resources address intimate partner violence, domestic violence, abuse and neglect of children, older adults, and persons with disabilities. Find resources at Mass211.org.
  • Survivors of domestic violence can call SafeLink’s free, statewide, 24-hour hotline at 877-785-2020. Translation services are provided for 130 languages. Survivors who are deaf or hard of hearing can dial 711 and ask to be connected to the SafeLink hotline.
  • MA residents and visitors can call the “End Hate Now” hotline (1-83-END-H8-NOW or 1-833-634-8669) to report concerning or troubling incidents, potential hate crimes, or other signs of hate-based violent extremism.
  • On September 16, 2022, President Biden has signed a bill that will eliminate the statute of limitations for people who were sexually abused as minors to file civil claims.
  • The Violence Against Women Act of 2022 (VAWA 2022) went into effect on October 1, 2022.

The Breakdown:

  • The new 988 dialing code is now active across the country. People who call 988 will be connected to care and support providers at the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. People can dial 988 for themselves or if they are worried about someone who may need crisis support. Visit SAMHSA’s 988 website for more information.
  • When cell phone carriers switch to 5G, they will stop service to phones, medical devices, and security systems that run only on 3G. People with older phones may not be able to make calls including emergency calls to 911. For additional information about the timeline and how to upgrade affected devices, visit the FCC website.
  • Individuals who fear that another may harm them can request a restraining order through local courts between 8:30am and 4:30pm. When courts are closed, protection orders are available through local police departments. For information on restraining order eligibility and the process of requesting a restraining order, visit COVID-19 Resources on mass.gov.
  • In an emergency, call 911.To report child abuse or neglect, call DCF’s 24-hour Child-at-Risk Hotline at 800-792-5200. To report abuse or neglect of someone who is age 60 or older over, call the Elder Protective Services’ 24-hour Hotline at 800-922-2275. To report abuse or neglect of a person with a disability, call the Disabled Person’s Protection Commission at 800-462-5540.
  • DCF has resources for families navigating child protection during COVID-19.
  • MAhas developed a specific nursing home resource page for people concerned about their loved ones isolated in long term care facilities during COVID-19.
  • Many community-based organizations specialize in serving survivors of intimate partner violence, including DOVE, Jane Doe Inc., and YWCA Central Massachusetts. The Network/LaRed and Fenway Healthcare serve survivors in the LGBTQIA+ community. Specialized supports are also offered through the Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence and the MA Alliance of Portuguese Speakers.
  • The Boston Neighborhood Trauma Team offers services for individuals, families, and communities impacted by community violence. Access support 24/7 by calling 617-431-0125.
  • The Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance offers free resources for victims, survivors, and providers at 844-878-MOVA or mass.gov/askMOVA.
  • Every DTA office has a Domestic Violence Specialist (DVS) to help survivors access community resources, engage in safety planning, assist with shelter and housing resources, and seek waivers of certain program rules. To reach the DVS in your region, call the DTA Assistance Line at (877) 382-2363 or review one of these brochures (available in English and 6 other languages).
  • Anyone who has witnessed or experienced police misconduct can file a report. Police misconduct includes but is not limited to unnecessary force, intimidation, racial profiling, and unprofessional behavior. Each police agency has a different process for filing reports. Many have online complaint forms (e.g., MA State Police, MBTA Transit Police, Boston Police Department). For additional information about rights during an interaction with police, visit the MA ACLU.
  • US Attorney Rachael Rollins has announced an “End Hate Now” hotline (1-83-END-H8-NOW or 1-833-634-8669) for Massachusetts residents and visitors to call to report concerning or troubling incidents, potential hate crimes, or other signs of hate-based violent extremism. Read more about the hotline here.
  • Survivors of DV, sexual assault, or stalking who need to keep their address private to remain safe can apply for a confidential address through the Address Confidentiality Program. To apply, call 866-723-3233 or visit the ACP website.
  • The recent bipartisan gun safety legislation includes closure of the “boyfriend loophole,” prohibiting anyone convicted of domestic violence against a former or current dating partner from purchasing a firearm.
  • The Violence Against Women Act of 2022 (VAWA 2022) provides protections for survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking who are seeking to access or maintain federally-assisted housing. VAWA 2022 went into effect on October 1, 2022. Find more information here.

The Bottom Line:

  • Even during the pandemic, community-based organizations are offering services to individuals experiencing safety concerns.
  • Anyone seeking help for themselves or a loved one with mental health related distress – including suicide and substance use – can dial 9-8-8 and receive free and confidential support, 24/7.