Many services for people struggling with issues related to sexual and domestic violence are available remotely during this COVID-19 public health emergency. Visit the Domestic Violence Program and the Sexual Assault Prevention and Survivor Services page for more information.
In 2016, the Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Department of Children and Families engaged in a process of soliciting input from survivors, service providers, and other stakeholders across the Commonwealth in preparation for the procurement of sexual and domestic violence (SDV) services. Extensive stakeholder feedback was provided concerning the lack of equity in access to SDV services. While a network exists of programs designed to serve survivors of SDV, their families, and communities, not all survivors can utilize these services – often because they are not physically accessible, linguistically accessible, or culturally accessible. For many years, DPH has attempted to address these service accessibility issues through the Refugee and Immigrant Safety and Empowerment (RISE) program as well as through a specific procurement for SDV services for LGBT communities.
The Sexual and Domestic Violence Services for Communities Experiencing Inequities (SDVEI) service model replaces these previous programs, building on what has been learned and expanding to additional populations that experience inequities in prevalence of experience of SDV, access to culturally tailored SDV services, or outcomes related to experience of SDV.
Data show that the communities with higher rates of SDV, less access to SDV services, and worse outcomes as a result of SDV are: people with disabilities; Black women; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender (LGBT) people; immigrants; and residents of rural communities. Download the SDV Prevalence Fact Sheet outlining these data.
Providers of SDVEI services either work primarily with these populations, but had not previously engaged in SDV work, or are SDV service providers that need additional resources to focus on and develop culturally relevant services for these marginalized populations, or specialize in SDV services for the the specific communities. SDVEI programs provide outreach to the marginalized communities, with the goal of enhancing understanding of and sensitivity to sexual and/or domestic violence, increasing awareness of rights and resources, and enhancing access to and utilization of services. Services include both general SDV counseling and advocacy and legal representation for immigrant survivors. Download a list of SDVEI programs.