Welcome to Fenway Health’s Violence Recovery Program
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
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).
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.
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 or 800.834.3242.
Current groups include:
Trauma Education Group
The Trauma Education Group is a free, 9-week group for LGBT people who have experienced abuse, violence or other trauma. Discussions will focus on the effects and symptoms of trauma in general, as opposed to each individual’s traumatic story or memories. Groups are run two to three times a year at Fenway’s 1340 Boylston Street location.
Relationship Skills Group
The Relationship Skills group is for LGBTQ people who have experienced violence or abuse. The group will give participants a chance to explore communication, negotiation, expectation, systems of oppression and the influence of culture on relationships. The group meets for 8 sessions and focuses on all types of relationships, including friendships, family ties and romantic. This group is offered at the VRP’s Western MA office.
Male Survivor Group
Independence House and The Violence Recovery Program of Fenway Health are joining together to offer a support group for all individuals who identify as men, live on Cape Cod, and are survivors of domestic and/or sexual violence. This is a 9-week group which gives participants information on healthy boundaries, self-care, safety, red flags and developing healthy relationships. This group is offered at the VRP’s Cape Cod Office.
Asylum Seekers Group
The Asylum Seekers group is for LGBT people who have come to the United States seeking asylum due to identity-based persecution in their home country. The group will give participants a chance to share resources and knowledge about the Asylum process. Participants can be anywhere in the asylum process. This group is offered at Fenway’s 1340 Boylston Street location.
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.
- 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.