The Network/La Red is a survivor-led, social justice organization that works to end partner abuse in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, SM, polyamorous, and queer communities. Rooted in anti-oppression principles, our work aims to create a world where all people are free from oppression. We strengthen our communities through organizing, education, and the provision of support services.

The Network/La Red was formed in 1989 when a group of formerly battered lesbians came together to address domestic violence in lesbian and bisexual women’s communities in Boston. In 1991, we were incorporated under the name New England Women’s Support, Inc. d/b/a The Network for Battered Lesbians. The name was changed to The Network for Battered Lesbians and Bisexual Women in 1996, and in 2000 to The Network/La Red, with a mission of working with survivors of partner abuse in the lesbian, bisexual women’s and transgender communities.

In 2010, the wording of our mission was changed to explicitly name and acknowledge our ongoing work with gay, queer, polyamorous and BDSM communities. This change represents both a more accurate reflection of The Network/La Red’s ongoing work over the years as well as an acknowledgment of the range of identities and labels members of our communities may choose to use.

Our direct services began in 1992 with an ongoing support group. In 1993 the hotline opened, in 1998 the safe home program began sheltering folks, and in 2000 the advocacy program was added. Today, The Network/La Red is a national resource and model for domestic violence service providers, batterer intervention programs, and gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer and/or transgender organizations beginning to address partner abuse in our LGBQ/T communities.

The Network La Red understands oppression to be an imbalance of power intrinsically linked to the privileges bestowed on some at the expense of others, based on but not limited to: race, ethnicity, gender expression and identity, class, ability, sexuality, religion, citizenship status, age, language capacity and history of incarceration and court involvement.

Partner abuse exists to achieve and maintain control, and reflects and perpetuates the larger violent culture which condones and rewards interpersonal, institutional and imperialist abuse of power in order to control and/or exploit groups of people. The Network/La Red links domestic violence to all other forms of violence, oppression and abuse, because the values and tactics behind each are identical.

The Network/La Red defines anti-oppression as the beliefs, actions, and policies that aim to eliminate the imbalance of power within our society. Therefore, in order to do our work effectively, we believe that we must intentionally and consistently do the following:

  • Identify, confront, and take action against all forms of oppression
  • Root our work in the experience of survivors
  • Develop and encourage survivor leadership
  • Support the ability and right of individuals — especially survivors –to make their own decisions
  • Recognize that individuals can simultaneously experience multiple forms of oppression and privilege.For example, while a white lesbian experiences oppression, she also benefits from white privilege.
  • Work in solidarity with other movements striving to end oppression and violence
  • Hold ourselves and one another accountable to these principles

We believe that the experience and voices of survivors should lead our organizing to end partner abuse in our communities. The concept of “survivor-led” has always been at the core our work at The Network/La Red. Some examples are as follows:

  • The organization was founded by survivors of partner abuse (and a few non-battered friends), many of whom had been members of an ongoing support group for battered lesbians. Every aspect of the organization – from the organization’s by-laws to outreach materials to our analysis of domestic violence – has been developed with survivor leadership.
  • We hire for life experience and actively recruit survivors to apply for board, staff, and volunteer positions. We strive to have survivors represent the majority of board, staff, and volunteers. We do not require that staff, volunteers or board leave an abusive partner in order to be part of the organization.
  • We seek out feedback from survivors who work with us in support group context on a variety of questions ranging from feedback about outreach materials to setting organizational priorities. At least one of the co-facilitators of our support groups must be a survivor.

In addition to (and underlying) these concrete examples, is the belief that those who have experienced partner abuse are the experts – both on the issue in general as well as on what is best for their own lives. We believe that survivors of partner abuse should always be part of designing organizing efforts and services so that these services are relevant to the realities of survivors, are empowering, and don’t re-victimize those who participate in them.

For more information or to get support, contact us.


LGBQ/T Inclusion In FVPSA-Funded Program in Massachusetts: A Report on the LGBQ/T Domestic and Sexual Violence Accessibility and Inclusivity Survey
In FY 18, The Network/La Red (TNLR) worked with MDPH to assess and improve the degree of accessibility and inclusivity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and/or transgender (LGBQ/T) communities in FVPSA grantee programs across Massachusetts.

First, a conversation was held at an MDPH providers meeting with FVPSA-funded program staff as well as other DV/SV providers. TNLR staff facilitated this conversation in order to understand the challenges providers face and the tools and resources they need in this endeavor. The outcome of this conversation allowed TNLR to plan a training entitled “Creating LGBQ/T Accessibility in Your Organization.” Two staff from each of the FVPSA grantee programs in MA were requested to attend, and then bring the knowledge back to their organizations. The slides from this training are attached.
After the training, the attached survey was sent to all grantee programs, who were asked to have it completed by all staff, volunteers, interns, and board members. The survey was an assessment tool designed to help determine the degree of accessibility and inclusivity of LGBQ/T communities at agencies and within the state of Massachusetts. The data collected was used to show how organizations are doing, what is going well, and what areas are in need of improvement. This data was compiled into the attached report, including recommendations for further study and best practices for individual agencies as well as statewide.
This report will serve as a guide towards fidelity to FVPSA requirements of creating inclusive and accessible services. Moreover, this report may allow for critical reflection as we work to  shift the cultural landscape towards a more just world.


Annual Reports: Learn more about the financial break down of our income and expenses as well as highlights of some of the accomplishments of our board, staff, and volunteers from the past 5 years.