What is a hotline?
The Network/La Red’s 24-hour hotline provides confidential emotional support, information, and safety planning for lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and/or transgender (LGBQ/T) folks, as well as folks in SM/kink and polyamorous communities who are being abused or have been abused by a partner. We also offer information and support to friends, family, or co-workers on the issue of domestic violence in LGBQ/T communities. All hotline staff are trained in domestic violence, peer counseling, crisis intervention, and safety planning. You don’t have to leave or want to leave your relationship to get support.
Does it cost anything?
While all our services are free, currently our hotline is not toll-free, so any regular pay phone or long distances charges will apply. If you are able to provide a call back number a hotline staff can call you back. You can also call SafeLink, the toll-free 24 hour Massachusetts statewide domestic violence hotline at 1-877-785-2020 (voice) or 1-877-521-2601 (TTY), and ask to be connected to The Network/La Red. If you ask us to call you back please let us know whether it is safe to leave a message and make sure that you are able to receive calls from blocked phone numbers. If you have call blocking or Anonymous Call Rejection (ACR), it needs to be deactivated to accept calls from The Network/La Red.
- To deactivate ACR:
- Press *87 (or 1187 on rotary or pulse-dialing phones).
- You will hear a confirmation announcement that ACR is deactivated.
- When ACR is off, all calls will reach you.
- You must re-activate Anonymous Call Rejection (ACR) for the service to begin again.
- To re-activate ACR:
- Dial *77 (or 1177 on rotary or pulse-dialing phones).
- You will hear a confirmation announcement that ACR is activated.
- ACR will remain on until you turn it off.
What is the Safehome Program?
We provide emergency safehome for survivors of partner abuse for up to 4 weeks stay. Having a place to go is the missing piece for many abused lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and/or transgender (LGBQ/T) people who are trying to take their children and/or pets and leave their abusive partners. Our safehomes are located across the greater Boston area and offer a safe place to get started on the next course of action.
How do I get into a Safehome?
You call The Network/La Red Hotline at 617-742-4911(voice) or 617-227-4911(TTY). First we will ask about your immediate safety and have a conversation about why you are seeking services. If we are the appropriate resource and our safehome is available, we will begin the intake process. If we both feel that The Network/La Red safehome is a good match for you, we will make arrangements to meet you in a public area and then bring you to the safehome where we make sure both you and the provider are comfortable. Once in the safehome, the staff will work with you daily to strategize/brainstorm the next steps you would like to take.
If you need a shelter and we are not available, you can call SafeLink, 1-877-785-2020(voice) or 1-877-521-2601(TTY), the Massachusetts 24-hour domestic violence hotline, for referrals to shelters with space. If you are unable to find shelter space, you can try homeless shelters for the meantime.
What is an advocate?
An advocate is a trained staff person who provides support and has connections with LGBQ/T and mainstream organizations. They can:
- Provide support, crisis intervention, information, and referrals on the hotline or in person
- Assist with safety planning
- Accompany you to court or medical appointments
- Assist with victim compensation
- Assist with accessing medical, legal, housing, or other social services
Does it cost anything?
No. Our services are FREE and confidential.
How can I contact an advocate?
Call The Network/La Red’s 24-hour hotline and ask to speak with an advocate. 617-742-4911 (voice), 617-227-4911 (tty), or 800-832-1901 (Toll-Free).
The project was supported by the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance through a Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA) grant from the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.
What is a support group?
A confidential facilitated group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and/or transgender survivors of partner abuse to share and listen to each other’s experiences, give and get peer support, feedback and information, and help with safety planning. You can receive support over the phone or in person.
How do I get into support group?
Call The Network/La Red Hotline and speak with a hotline advocate about setting up an interview for support group. All support group members go through an interview process before beginning group so we can hear a little about your situation, go over group guidelines, and make sure it is a good match.
Does is cost anything?
No, it’s free, and in some cases we can provide a stipend for childcare, parking, and/or transportation if needed.
In-person Support Group Facts:
- The space is wheelchair accessible
- It’s accessible via public transportation and by car
- Air filters are provided if needed
- ASL interpreter is provided if needed
- The group is facilitated in English, and is translated in Spanish as needed
What is Safety Planning?
Safety planning is a way to assess danger/risk: this can be risk of physical, emotional, sexual, financial and/or cultural/identity harm. It is also a way to come up with strategies that can help you stay safer
What does a safety plan look like?
Use your judgment about what will work in your situation. You can plan ahead and strategize around ways to stay safer in the relationship, when leaving, and/or after the relationship has ended. Trust your instincts. If your gut tells you that abuse is coming, pay attention. Whether you live with your abuser or not, here are some questions you can think about to help develop your safety plan:
- What do you need to feel safe?
- What concerns do you have for your safety and the safety of your kids/pets/loved ones, etc?
- What have you done in the past to stay safe? Have those strategies helped? Will they help now?
In general, you can…
- Let a safe person know what is happening and what you would like them to do in an emergency. You may want to give them a code word or phrase that can signal that you need help.
- Store money, keys, medication, birth certificate, identification, social security card, immigration documents, insurance cards and/or other important documents, clothing, and anything else you may need at a friend’s, a family member’s, at work, in a car trunk, or another place your abuser will not have access to.
- Get medical attention for any injuries you or your kids may have. Besides making sure you’re okay, medical records may be useful in the future to document the abuse if you decide to pursue any legal recourse (e.g. restraining orders, immigration relief, etc).
- Get support for yourself and your kids (contact friends, family, or one of the resources listed on this site). You can call The Network/La Red hotline at 617-742-4911 (voice), 617-227-4911 (TTY), or 800-832-1901 (Toll-Free), for free confidential support. You don’t have to leave or want to leave your partner to get support.
- Get a restraining order: available free of charge at any court in Massachusetts (or through the local or state police after hours). A restraining order can order the abuser to stop abusing you, to leave the apartment/house, to stay away from you and/or your children, to surrender weapons and FID card, to compensate you for expenses related to the abuse, and/or grant you temporary custody and support for your children. In Massachusetts, restraining orders are available regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or domestic partnership status or whether or not you have ever lived together or been married.
During an incident, you can…
- Try to move into a room where there are no weapons (for example, out of the kitchen or away from where a gun is stored). Try to be near a door or other escape route.
- Call the police. Although the legal system can be homo/bi/transphobic, racist, ableist, classist etc. if you feel that the police could help in your situation, don’t hesitate to use them.
If you want to leave, you don’t have to wait for something terrible to happen. It’s okay for you to go whenever you want to or can.
If you decide to leave, you can…
- Find a safe place to stay (a friend’s, coworker’s or family member’s, domestic violence shelter, The Network/La Red’s emergency safe home, motel). If you need to get out, but can’t find a place to stay, hospitals are often open 24 hours.
- Change your routines where possible so it’s harder to find you – i.e., your work schedule, where and when you go grocery shopping, do laundry, have medical/therapy appointments, etc. If you can’t change routines, see if someone can go with you so that you’re not alone if you run into your abuser.
- Get support. Trust your instincts about who you can rely on to keep your whereabouts and activities confidential. It may be helpful to emphasize the importance of confidentiality to those in your support system.
Internet & Computer Safety
- If you think your activities are being monitored, they probably are. Abusive people are often controlling and want to know your every move. You don’t need to be a computer programmer or have special skills to monitor someone’s computer and Internet activities – anyone can do it and there are many ways to monitor with programs like Spyware, keystroke loggers and hacking tools.
- It is not possible to delete or clear all the “footprints” of your computer or online activities. If you are being monitored, it may be dangerous to change your computer behaviors such as suddenly deleting your entire Internet history if that is not your regular habit.
- If you think you may be monitored on your home computer, be careful how you use your computer since an abuser might become suspicious. You may want to keep using the monitored computer for innocuous activities, like looking up the weather. Use a safer computer to research an escape plan, look for new jobs or apartments, bus tickets, or ask for help.
- Email and Instant/Text Messaging (IM) are not safe or confidential ways to talk to someone about the danger or abuse in your life. If possible, please call a hotline instead. If you use email or IM, please use a safer computer and an account your abuser does not know about.
- Computers can store a lot of private information about what you look at via the Internet, the emails and instant messages you send, internet-based phone and IP-TTY calls you make, web-based purchases and banking, and many other activities.
- It might be safer to use a computer in a public library, at a trusted friend’s house, or an Internet Café.
For more information on ways to keep your time on the internet private please visit the National Network to End Domestic Violence website.
GLBTQ Attorney Program
The GLBTQ Domestic Violence Attorney Program offers legal representation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and/or transgender survivors of domestic violence on issues including restraining orders, immigration, family law, housing, employment, and financial issues. Call 617-779-2130 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
For more information on Restraining Orders, call our hotline 617-742-4911(voice), 617-227-4911 (tty), 800-832-1901 (Toll-Free), or click here.
HOW TO HELP A FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER
We often get phone calls from people whose friends and/or family members are being abused by their partners. Here are some answers to common questions that we get.
Why won’t they leave?
There are many reasons that a person may not be ready or able to leave a relationship. The survivor may still very much love their partner and be hoping that the abuse will stop. The survivor may have been told repeatedly that they are worthless or that no one will ever love them other than their abuser. The survivor may not have money, a job, a home, etc. They may fear losing their children, financial security, pets, etc. They may fear facing discrimination as an LGBQ/T individual having to navigate mainstream systems. They may be worried about their abuser and what will happen to them when they leave. They may fear increased violence. Statistics have shown that when a survivor tries to leave there is often an escalation in violence by the abuser. Because the abusive partner is so concerned with maintaining control over the survivor they may feel threatened by the loss of control and may do things that they have never done before.
Can I confront the abuser?
No matter how angry you are do not confront the abusive partner or try to reason with them. This may be dangerous for you, and the survivor will take the brunt of their abuser’s anger and blame. While you may have the best of intentions, confronting the abusive partner could make things much worse for the survivor and may increase their isolation.
What can I do?
More than likely you are very worried about your friend and/or family member and want to help them. Given the particular dynamics of relationships where abuse is present, the things that we may immediately want to do (confront the abusive partner, make the survivor leave a relationship, etc.) are not always the most helpful. However, there are many things you can do that can make all the difference to a survivor.
- Let them know you care. Abusive people maintain control over their partners by isolating them and convincing them that no one cares about them. Fear and shame may prevent a survivor from asking for help or confiding in another person.
- Be safe, available, and non-judgmental. Let the survivor know that you are there for them, whether or not they want to or are ready to leave the relationship. Let them know that if they want to talk they can call you and that if they need a break they can stay with you. While it can be difficult to only offer your support, doing so may mean everything to the survivor and may be the reason they feel safe to come to you if they are ready to take the steps they need to leave.
- Listen and meet the survivor where they are. Don’t tell them to leave. Hear where they are coming from and support them in the ways that they need. Listen to the survivor and decide what to say next based on their reactions to what you have said. If you say you are worried and the survivor gets defensive, then take a step back.
- Don’t assume that you know what is best. Respect the survivor’s ability to read their abuser and figure out what they are capable of. Read more about the 6 things not to say to a LGBQ/T friend who is experiencing partner abuse.
- Get support for yourself. Supporting a survivor can be very difficult and at times frustrating. Find yourself a support who isn’t the survivor with whom you can vent, talk, or think about how you can best be helpful. You can always call us for this type of help.
- Show your support in other ways. You can get one of our magnets and put it on your refrigerator. This may tell the survivor that you are open to talking about domestic violence or it may give the survivor a phone number to call when they are ready to seek support.
OTHER DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESOURCES
For a list of other domestic violence resources, please click here.
To talk more about these resources, you can call us on our hotline at 617-742-4911 (voice), 617-227-4911 (tty), or 800-832-1901 (Toll-Free).