This is a confidential and free hotline. You do not have to give your name or any identifying information when you call. Someone is always on hand to listen and offer information about what resources are available to you.
If you think you need to leave your home in order to be safe, the hotline can also help you find shelter and other resources. Not everyone calls looking for this, though. If you just want to talk, you'll find someone at the hotline anytime, day or night. The staff is ready to listen to what you've been experiencing and provide emotional support. They can also connect you with local services if you need them.
Local services may provide:
- a supportive staff
- help with planning for your safety
- emergency shelter
- support groups and individual counseling
- legal assistance
- services for your children
If you;ld like to know more about services in your city or town, visit the Jane Doe, Inc., statewide on-line resource guide at www.janedoe.org . You can also call 411 or the hotline for more information. Ask for domestic violence services in your area.
The police can assist you if your partner has abused you. Not everyone who has been abused calls the police, but it is important for you to know you can call 911 if you feel you need their protection, especially in emergencies.
Restraining Orders (209A)
If you have been abused by your partner you can apply for a restraining order. A restraining order can direct an abuser:
- To stop violent, abusive and threatening behavior
- To leave and stay away from your home and your workplace
- It can also give victims of violence temporary custody of their children.
Getting a restraining order does not mean the batterer will be automatically arrested.
However, restraining orders do not always make things safer for you. In fact, in some instances they may increase the offender's level of violence. You may want to talk over your particular situation with a hotline staff member, the police or an advocate provided by the courts or a shelter. An advocate can help fill out paperwork and stay with you for support if you want.
You can get a restraining order in court during a weekday. You can also get one through your local police 24 hours a day. For more information about qualifying for a restraining order and what they can do for you please see the Massachusetts Attorney General website at http://www.ago.state.ma.us/sp.cfm?pageid=1628.
A restraining order can also have other implications for you if you or your batterer are immigrants or refugees. If you are an immigrant or refugee you can find more information at www.tapestri.org.
Family, Friends and Co-workers
You may feel alone in all the things you are experiencing, but 1 out of 3 women and 1 out of 14 men will experience some form of abuse in their lifetime. You may feel shame and/or a sense that you should keep things that are happening to you a secret to protect your partner.
However, there may be people around you who can be helpful during this time. Family, friends, coworkers or others in your community may be a resource you have not used. Think about who is around you that you would feel safe talking with. Also think about what other trustworthy adults are in your children's lives as they could be an additional support.
Here are some things to consider:
- Are there people you can talk to confidentially?
- Are there neighbors or others who can help you if there is a crisis? For example, can someone agree to call the police if they hear loud noises or if you yell for help?
- Are there people who can help you if you need to get away?
- Are there people who can talk to your partner?
If you are a family member, friend or co-worker of someone you think is being abused let them know in a private and discrete way that you would like to be helpful. Listen in a non-judgmental way and be informed about some of the possible resources and services in your area.
There is more information available on the website of the Statewide Domestic Violence & sexual assault coalition, Jane Doe, Inc, www.janedoe.org.
This information is provided by the Department of Children and Families.