Resources for Survivors of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

If you are a survivor of sexual assault or domestic violence, you are not alone. We are here to help. On this page, you will find a variety of different local and statewide programs available across the Commonwealth dedicated to providing you the support you need. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger or is in an emergency, please call 9-1-1.

Navigating these situations can be overwhelming, so if you are unsure what type of assistance you need, a good first place to start would be to contact SafeLink or your local Rape Crisis Center. These programs can help you understand the next best steps based on your situation.

Table of Contents

SafeLink

SafeLink is a confidential 24/7 statewide domestic violence hotline that can connect you to local support based on your needs. SafeLink’s state-of-the-art technology allows the advocate answering your call to keep you on the line while you are being connected to a resource in your area, getting you help in just a single call. It is also OK to call SafeLink if you need to talk about your situation or someone else’s – you do not need to be looking for services or a shelter space. Advocates are fluent in English, Spanish, and Portuguese and have access to a service that can provide translation in more than 130 languages.

Call SafeLink at 877-785-2020 for:

  • Safety planning resources for survivors to learn how they and their families can stay safe.
  • A safe and confidential space in which to talk about your relationship or someone else’s.
  • A direct connection to domestic violence programs across Massachusetts
  • Referrals to local domestic violence and other community resources
  • Support and resources for anyone who is concerned about a victim of domestic violence
  • Information about domestic and dating violence

People who are Deaf and hard of hearing can reach SafeLink by calling:

  • SafeLink’s TTY line at (877) 521-2601

Additional Resources

Rape Crisis Centers

Rape Crisis Centers offer FREE services for adolescent and adult sexual assault survivors, and for people who care about survivors of all ages.

Trained rape crisis counselors at local programs:

  • Provide 24/7 hotline counseling, information, and referral
  • Will go with survivors to hospitals and/or police stations 24/7
  • Will go with a survivor to court
  • Provide one-to-one counseling and support group counseling
  • Provide primary prevention education; professional training; outreach

To find your local RCC, use the interactive map below which includes contact information for each center including a TTY line for people who are Deaf and Hard of hearing.

If you are a Spanish speaker, you can call the 24-hour Llámanos Spanish Language Helpline at (800) 223-5001 for assistance.

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program

Massachusetts Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) are a type of uniquely trained nurse that will respond to the hospital when a sexual assault patient has presented. SANEs can ultimately provide all three of the resources listed below, but it is the patient's decision which resources/services they would like to partake in. All of these resources are free of charge.

  • Obtain and document the patient’s report of their assault
  • Perform a forensic exam and evidence collection
  • Collaborate with hospital providers for timely administration of medications that can help to prevent assault-related pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) including HIV

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault and would like evidence to be collected and/or to be examined by a health professional, you can go to one of the designated SANE site hospitals and ask to meet with a SANE.

You can choose to partake in as many or as little of these resources that are offered. 

Phone: 617-624-6052

To find a SANE Site Hospital, use this interactive map, which includes the address and contact information for each center.

Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit (SAECK) Tracking System

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts works with health care and law enforcement agencies to maintain a sexual assault evidence collection kit tracking system accessible to survivors.

Track-Kit is a comprehensive, statewide, web-based sexual assault evidence collection kit tracking system. It provides survivors with the ability to track the location and status of their kit, from the point of collection to its final storage location.

Track-Kit is mobile-friendly, anonymous, confidential, and free of charge to users.

Track-Kit Access for Survivors may be found here.

Additional Resources

Legal Resources

You may find yourself navigating criminal, civil, or probate issues in legal systems that seem complex and intimidating. Working alongside a trained sexual or domestic violence advocate or lawyer can alleviate the stress of this process, help you understand your rights and access services.

The information provided below serves to help you understand your options and resources as a survivor. In addition to the resources listed below, please check with the General Community Based Domestic Violence Service Provider in your area to see if they offer legal assistance, as this varies based on the organization.

General Information on Navigating the Legal System as a Survivor

Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance (MOVA)

If you are unsure of where to start with your legal question, a good place to begin is the AskMOVA site provided by the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance (MOVA). MOVA supports free and accessible direct services throughout Massachusetts that help crime victims and their families recover from the impacts of violent crime. AskMOVA allows victims, survivors, and service providers to find these free services in an area that is convenient, accessible, and safe for the victim or survivor.

If you are unable to find the information and/or help you’re looking for on AskMOVA, please contact MOVA at (617) 586-1340 or mova@mass.gov

MOVA SAFEPLAN

MOVA also provides safety assistance for every person currently leaving abuse. SAFEPLAN is MOVA’s statewide court-based program that provides specially trained advocates to help victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking who are seeking protection from abuse. SAFEPLAN currently serves 53 district and probate courts throughout the state. SAFEPLAN Advocates are employed by 15 local community-based agencies that can be found here.

Victim Rights Law Center (VRLC)

The VRLC site offers free legal services for sexual assault survivors in the areas of safety, privacy, housing, employment, education, immigration, financial stability and criminal justice advocacy.

P.O. Box 962158 Boston, MA 02196

Phone: 617-399-6720

Toll Free: 877-758-8132

MassLegalHelp

MassLegalHelp has helpful legal information for survivors of Domestic violence such as information on restraining orders, harassment prevention orders, keeping your address and information safe, child support, custody, criminal complaints, and more.

Massachusetts Legal Resource Finder 

A product of the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, Massachusetts Legal Resource Finder’s mission is to help Massachusetts residents find legal help and information. The Massachusetts Legal Resource Finder prompts site visitors to answer a few questions to determine the appropriate referral and will then give contact information for legal aid offices, government agencies and court programs that may be able to help you for free or at low cost. 

To use the Legal Resource Finder, click here.

Civil Legal Aid for Victims of Crime (CLAVC)

CLAVC offers a wide variety of funded legal aid programs pro-bono or at a reduced cost. To get help from a CLAVC layer you must be a victim or a survivor of a crime, have a civil (non-criminal) legal problem that is a result of that crime, and live in MA or the legal problem must be in MA. If you are interested in their programs, you can search your zip code at the link below to find services near you.

Massachusetts Legal Aid Programs

Massachusetts legal aid programs offer a variety of free civil legal help to low-income Massachusetts residents. Areas of practice include domestic violence, family law, housing, consumer law, income and benefits, unemployment, health law, and immigration.

The Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation publishes a list of legal aid programs by region which may be found here.

Lawyer Referral

This site provides resources and tips to find lawyers. There are links to free legal help and links to lawyers who will charge legal fees. You can search for lawyers near where you live or work.

To view a list of attorneys who specialize in SADV and immigration, please click here.



Victim Compensation

If you, a family member, or a loved one has been a victim of a violent crime, you can fill out an application with the Victim Compensation Division of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.

The Division is able to provide financial assistance to eligible victims of violent crime for uninsured medical and dental care, mental health counseling, funeral and burial costs, and income lost due to the inability to work. In order to apply for victim’s compensation, the crime must have been reported to police within five days unless there is good cause for delay. You must cooperate with law enforcement officials in the investigation and prosecution of the crime unless there is a reasonable excuse not to cooperate.

You must apply for compensation within three years of the crime. Victims under the age of 18 at the time of the crime may apply until age 21, or later in certain limited circumstances.

Office of the Attorney General

Victim Compensation & Assistance Division

One Ashburton Place Boston, MA 02108

Duty Phone: 617-963-2160

TTY: 617-727-4765



Incarcerated Offender Notifications

You can request to receive notifications by phone or mail when an offender transfers to a minimum security or pre-release facility, returns to higher security from a minimum or pre-release facility, receives a final release date, receives an emergency escorted release, or escapes.

If you would like to request notification services, you can fill out an application here.

* Please note that you must include either a police report, a district attorney summons, or a letter from a district attorney victim witness advocate. If you are a victim working with a victim witness advocate, they can electronically submit your form on your behalf. *

If you are currently unsure of your certification status, you can reach out to:

Victim Services

50 Maple Street Milford, MA 01757

(617) 660-4600


District Attorney's Offices

District Attorney’s Offices have experienced victim/witness personnel that can assist all victims of domestic abuse with support and encouragement throughout the legal process. If you have general legal questions, you can contact the appropriate District Attorney Office for your area. 

It is important to note, you should not report a crime through this contact. If you would like to report a crime, you should reach out to local law enforcement.  

To find your District Attorney’s Office, use this interactive map, which includes the address and contact information for each center.

Additional Resources

Employer Assistance


MassHire 

The MassHire Department of Career Services provides job seekers with a variety of job assistance services, including working with experienced career counselors, attending workshops and short-term training, accessing up-to-date local, statewide, and national job listings, developing resumes, writing cover letters, and more.

View the list of MassHire Career Centers to find a location convenient for you to access these services.

Additional Resources

Housing Resources

If you are in need of housing, the state has many resources that can assist you with placement.

If you need to move immediately, a shelter may be the best option for you. Use the interactive map of shelters throughout the state to find what is available. The resources listed on this map are:

Emergency Shelters (ES) services include both temporary refuge for domestic or sexual violence survivors, their children, and/or their other dependents who feel at imminent risk of violence or abuse.

Housing Stabilization Services (HS) provide stable family housing and concrete support services to help program participants access and maintain permanent housing.

General Community Based Domestic Violence Services (GCBDVS) include a range of activities and services designed to support the individual, familial, and social needs of survivors of domestic violence, their children, and/or their other dependents. Programs are in neighborhoods that are accessible to survivors, including diverse racial and ethnic groups and people with disabilities. These programs assist with housing search and advocacy, and work with survivors on a multitude of needs, such as safety planning, support groups, advocacy with schools and other systems, help accessing public benefits, obtaining copies of vital documents, financial literacy, and finding job training. 

If you are having a trouble finding a shelter near you with availability, you can also call SafeLink at (877) 785-2020 and their staff can assist you with your search.

Other Housing Resources

The state also offers several resources through the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) that can assist with obtaining housing. A few of these resources are listed below, but to speak with a DHCD specialist please call (617) 573-1100 or visit the DHCD webpage to learn more. If you are currently homeless, you can call DHCD’s homelessness coordinator at (866) 584-0653.

You can also reach out to your local Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC) using this interactive map. HCECs can help you identify which housing resources you qualify for that can best assist you depending on your situation.

Rental Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT)

The RAFT program helps keep households in stable housing situations when facing eviction, loss of utilities, and other housing emergencies caused by loss of income, increase in expenses, or both. RAFT helps all kinds of households by providing up to $7,000 per household to help preserve current housing or move to new housing. To be eligible to be awarded future rent payments (stipends), at least one month’s arrearage is required (unless moving due to health/safety crisis, overcrowding, doubled up, etc.)

Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP)

The MRVP provides a permanent improvement in the lives of low-income families and individuals by offering both tenant- and project-based rental subsidies.

Public Housing Assistance Programs

State-aided public housing includes low-income family, elderly, and handicapped housing in buildings owned by Local Housing Authorities (LHAs) throughout 240 cities and towns in Massachusetts. Note that the term “state-aided public housing” does not include state or federal rental payment vouchers or federal public housing programs. Low-income households are typically eligible for the state-aided public housing if they earn no more than 80 percent of the area media income.

Income Limits for State Aided Public Housing (effective April 1, 2021).

Additional Resources

SADV Resources Interactive Map

This interactive map will allow you or a loved one to find resources nearby.

Further Assistance

If you were not able to find the help you were looking for on this page, please feel free to call the Governor's Office of Constituent Services at 617-725-4005 or email the Governor's Office here.

Additional Resources

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