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Get help to stop the violence

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed October 2023

Talk to someone

If you can, talk to someone about what to do to stop the abuse, keeping your children safe, or how to leave an abusive relationship safely.

See the information on Jane Doe, Inc.'s Find Help page, including a directory of Massachusetts domestic violence programs and a downloadable map.

See also the state's page "Court Resources for Safety and Support." It has lists of programs that can help with domestic violence, sexual assault, criminal matters, children, and pets.

You can also call SafeLink, a 24-hour multilingual statewide hotline, to speak to an advocate. It is free and confidential. Advocates are always available just to listen. You can call them just to talk about your situation, even if you aren't ready to take any steps to leave a relationship. SafeLink also connects people to available shelter beds in the state and helps with safety planning

  • 1-877-785-2020
  • TTY: Dial 711, then ask to be connected to the hotline (1-877-785-2020).

Make a plan

A Personalized Safety Plan helps you think ahead about things like:
  • What you can do to protect yourself when the other person gets violent.
  • How to leave quickly and where you can go.
  • If you live separately from your partner, how to protect yourself if they try to find you.
  • How to stay safe on the job, at school, in public; and
  • How to use the courts to help keep you safe.

See a sample Personalized Safety Plan you can use.

You can find more information about Safety Plans from the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Get legal advice

You may be able to get legal advice for free. Visit the Massachusetts Legal Resource Finder (in English and Spanish).

Find out about education programs for your abusive partner

In a criminal case, the court can order your partner to get treatment at an Intimate Partner Abuse Education Program or to get alcohol or drug treatment.

These treatment programs are all different. Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services has a webpage about Intimate Partner Abuse Education Program Services where you can find the phone numbers and addresses of batterer intervention programs in your area.

If your partner is in a program, the program may contact you. You do not have to agree to anything they suggest. If your partner is violent, it means that they have a problem and need to be willing to change.

Learn about keeping your children safe

Learn about keeping your children safe during parenting time or visits with their abusive parent. See the Custody section.

Who to call for help

Find Legal Aid

You may be able to get free legal help from your local legal aid program. Or email a question about your own legal problem to a lawyer.

Ask a Law Librarian

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