Violence Recovery Program

Welcome to Fenway Health’s Violence Recovery Program

Fenway’s Violence Recovery Program (VRP) provides counseling, support groups, advocacy, and referral services to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) victims of bias crime, domestic violence, sexual assault, and police misconduct.

The Violence Recovery Program at Fenway Health exists:

  • To provide services to LGBT victims who have experienced interpersonal violence as well as information and support to friends, family, and partners of survivors
  • To raise awareness of how LGBT hate crime and domestic violence affects our communities through compiling statistics about these crimes
  • To ensure that LGBT victims of violence are treated with sensitivity and respect by providing trainings and consultations with service providers and community agencies across the state
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people deserve to live happy and healthy lives free from violence and abuse. Fenway’s Violence Recovery Program provides free and confidential support for LGBT people who have experienced partner abuse /domestic violence, sexual assault, hate violence (including identity-based asylum seekers), or police misconduct.

We specialize in serving LGBTQ-identified people who have experienced the following types of recent violence:

  • Partner Abuse and Domestic Violence: Abuse is about power and control and may include verbal, psychological, financial, sexual, physical or cultural abuse. Abuse can happen in any type of relationship, including dating, polyamorous relationships and marriages.
  • Sexual Assault: Sexual assault includes any type of unwanted sexual experience. Sexual violence and exploitation can occur as a one-time or recurrent event with strangers, partners, relatives or acquaintances. It can happen in the context of relationships or hook-ups and can involve drugs or other substances.
  • Hate Violence & Police Misconduct (Anti-LGBT Discrimination): LGBT people may experience violence or discrimination based on identified or perceived sexuality or gender identity/expression. LGBT people may experience verbal or physical abuse, refusal to assist people who have experienced harm, or unequal application of the law.

We offer counseling and advocacy in both English and Spanish. Services are offered at Fenway’s 1340 Boylston Street location, the Sidney Borum, Jr. Health Center, Western Massachusetts and Cape Cod.To access our services, call 617.927.6250 or 800.834.3242 (toll-free in MA).

Counseling

It’s important to know that many people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event have a range of feelings and reactions. While each person will have their own experiences, many survivors feel frightened, overwhelmed, angry, numb, depressed, or irritable. Difficulty sleeping, being afraid to go out, or finding that it hard to stop thinking about the incident are also some responses survivors often share. To help with these feelings and reactions we provide short-term counseling and support to survivors in person or over the phone. Many survivors find talking about their experiences with a supportive counselor to be an important part of recovery. We can also help coordinate longer-term therapy through our behavioral health department.

Support Groups

Interpersonal violence, in any of its forms, can be a very isolating experience. For this reason, the act of giving and getting support with others with similar experiences can be a powerful part of healing. Groups also offer a chance to learn information and explore skills that can help to better cope. The groups start throughout the year, depending on enrollment. All groups are free and require an intake. The intake is a chance to discuss concerns with the group leader and determine if the group best meets your needs at this time. For more information about the groups or to schedule an intake, please call 617.927.6250.

Current groups include:

Relationships Skills
The Relationship Skills group is for LGBT people who have experienced violence or abuse (including: partner abuse, sexual violence, hate violence, or police misconduct). The group will give participants a chance to explore communication, negotiation, expectations, and the influence of culture on relationships. The group meets for 8 sessions and focuses on all types of relationships including friendship, family ties, and romantic. Offered at Fenway’s 1340 Boylston Street location

Trauma Education
The trauma education group is for LGBT survivors of any trauma. It focuses on learning how trauma can impact the brain and building the skills to assist in trauma recovery. The group is not a process/support group and instead places priority on sharing experiences with new grounding techniques and building the foundation for deeper work in the future. It is a 10 week group provided at Fenway’s 1340 Boylston Street location

Advocacy

Crime survivors have legal rights when working with the police department, the district attorney’s office, and the court system. Unfortunately, the criminal justice and social service systems can be confusing and overwhelming. By using our experience with these systems, contacts with sensitive officials, and explaining what to expect, we try to make the decisions about reporting crime, prosecuting offenders, and getting support services as straightforward as possible.

Services are offered at Fenway’s 1340 Boylston Street location, the Sidney Borum, Jr. Health Center, Western Massachusetts and Cape Cod:

  • Information about your choices and rights.
  • Direction to sensitive police officers if you decide to file charges.
  • Advocacy for investigation and prosecution of your case
  • Court accompaniment for your case
  • Accompaniment and assistance obtaining a restraining order.
  • Assistance pursuing financial compensation to which you may be entitled, including for medical and counseling bills, or lost wages.

You also have the right to be free from harassment and discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations, and public school programs. We can help you assert these rights and work to see that your concerns are taken seriously.

Documentation and Reporting

The Violence Recovery Program is committed to raising awareness of LGBT hate crimes and domestic violence. We compile statewide statistics on anti-gay hate crime and same-sex domestic violence so we can more accurately reflect the magnitude and nature of these crimes and how they affect our communities. You can help by calling us and anonymously reporting any incident you face or witness, whether or not you want to access our services. In collaboration with the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, we release annual reports based on these statistics.

Why report?

  • To get the help you deserve: the VRP can document the incident and help with counseling and advocacy.
  • To document the crime: It is critical to document the ongoing harassment and violence against the LGBT communities. Attempting to capture the true extent of the violence against our communities prevents it from being minimized and allows us to more effectively advocate for survivor services and institutional changes.
  • To prosecute perpetrators: Prosecution may stop a perpetrator from committing these crimes in the future. It may also help a survivor to find and feel a sense of justice. Filing a police report is the first step.
  • To deter other possible perpetrators-If the crime goes unpunished, it may send the message that this type of violence is okay. If there are similar crimes, reporting could allow the police to connect the evidence and prosecute the crimes.
  • To receive compensation from the Victim Compensation Program. This fund is available to reimburse victims or surviving family members for out of pocket expenses related to the crime. These can include: medical, dental, counseling, or lost wages. In order to be eligible, a police report needs to be filed. The VRP can help with this application process. The decision to report a crime to the police is always left up to the survivor of the crime.

To anonymously report hate crime or same-sex domestic violence, call the VRP at 1.800.834.3242.

We also partner with the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.

Training and Education

The Violence Recovery program is committed to providing training and consultation to help organizations, providers, and community groups understand and respond to the needs of LGBT individuals affected by violence.

Training topics include:

  • LGBT communities impacted by trauma
  • LGBT partner abuse/domestic violence
  • Sexual assault in LGBT communities
  • Male survivors of sexual assault
  • LGBT-specific hate violence

We are happy to customize trainings for your specific group.  To discuss or schedule a training, call 617.927.6250

TOD@S: A Project for Black and Latin@ LGBQT People Affected by Partner Abuse

TOD@S is an inter-agency collaboration designed to improve and increase access to intervention and prevention services for LGBQ/T Black and Latin@ people affected by partner abuse.

TOD@S es una colaboracion interinstitucional diseñada para mejorar y aumentar el acceso a los servicios de intervención y prevención para las comunidades LGBQ/T latinas y de ascendencia africana afectadas por el abuso entre pareja.

TOD@S Community Needs Assessment

In order to assess the needs of Black and Latin@ LGBTQ people affected by partner abuse in Boston and the greater Boston area, TOD@S developed an online community needs assessment (hereafter referred to as “community assessment”) to better understand the following:

  • Attitudes and beliefs about partner abuse in Black and Latin@ LGBTQ communities,
  • What Black and Latin@ LGBTQ people think about the existing partner abuse infrastructure and services in the Boston area (shelters, organizations, counseling, etc.), and
  • Why Black and Latin@ LGBTQ people in the Boston area may or may not take advantage of these resources.

The intention of this assessment is to begin a discussion among partner abuse service agencies and agencies that serve Black and Latin@ people in the Boston area, about how to meet the needs of people living with multiple (often marginalized) identities when they are abused by their partners. We have made recommendations for local service providers to better meet the needs of the Black and Latin@ LGBQT people living in Boston and the Greater Boston area based on the community assessment findings.

Click to view the TOD@S Community Voices Needs Assessment.