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Victim Resource Center

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If you or someone you love has been affected by violence, hatred or abuse, the Victim Resource Center is here to help. Violence impacts everyone. People of all incomes, genders, sexual orientations, cultures, and religions are affected. While you may feel alone, we understand what you’re going through and want to help.

Victim Resource Center: 617-665-2992

If you are looking for the Victims of Violence program, please click here.

What We Do

Survivors sometimes feel isolated and alone, reluctant to reach out to others. You may feel afraid, numb and shocked, helpless, angry, anxious, depressed and even guilty or shameful. You may have questions about how to cope with your physical injuries, how to heal from the emotional impact of your experiences, how to file a report with the police, and what the court process would be like for you. Or you may just want someone to talk to - someone who understands.

Our Victim Services Specialists are experts in trauma, victimization, victim advocacy and the justice system. We work directly with victims to help them find community resources, medical services and the courts. Our services are always confidential and are provided at no cost.

  • Support for you and your loved ones
  • Help with safety planning and an assessment of needs for you and your family
  • Referrals to health, legal and other community services to help you get the best possible care, advice, and support
  • Help filing for Victim Compensation.
  • Training and consultation services to the community

Please note: we do not provide crisis services.

  • For urgent matters involving Domestic Violence, call SafeLink's 24/7 hotline at 1-877-785-2020.
  • For urgent matters related to Sexual Assault, contact Boston Area Rape Crisis Center's 24/7 hotline at 617-492-7273 or 1-800-841-8371.

The Victim Resource Center is supported by the Massachusetts Office for Victims Assistance through the 1984 VOCA grant from the Office for Victims of Crime, OJP, US Department of Justice.

Domestic Violence

  • Warning Signs of a High-Risk Situation
    • Abuser has threatened or attempted to kill victim and/or others close to the victim (e.g. victim's children, parents, etc.)
    • Abuser has prior history of violence towards others
    • Abuser has access to weapons and/or has used or threatened to use them
    • Abuse has included attempted strangulation
    • Abuse has included stalking/monitoring of victim's activities
    • Abuse has included forced or coerced sexual activity
    • Violence has recently escalated in intensity or severity
    • Violence has taken place while victim was pregnant
    • Abuser is using drugs or alcohol
    • Abuser has isolated victim and/or is violently jealous and controlling of victim's daily activities
    • Victim recently left or attempted to leave the relationship
  • Finding A Safe Place to Go

    If you or someone you know is at imminent risk of serious harm, safety planning is essential. For many, leaving or attempting to leave is often met with increased levels of violence and threat from the abuser.  Therefore, it is extremely important to think ahead about safe places to go, how to get there, important items to pack, have the bag ready to go, and how to reduce the chances of being found.

    If you do not have family or friends you can stay with where the perpetrator will not find you, you can call SAFELINK's Free, Multilingual 24-hour hotline at 1-877-785-2020 to find out where there are current DV shelter openings. Safelink's list is updated twice a day.

  • What to Pack When Getting Ready to Leave

    Identification

    • Driver's License or State Issued ID
    • Passports
    • Birth Certificates of yourself and your children
    • Social Security Card

    Legal Paperwork

    • Restraining Orders
    • Green Card, Work Permit or Visa
    • Health Insurance Cards and/or paperwork
    • Important Medical Records
    • Registration & Insurance paperwork for car
    • Lease and/or deed to house
    • School Records

    Financial Materials

    • Credit or Debit Cards
    • Checkbooks
    • Cash

    Travel Items

    • Medications
    • Keys
    • Cell phone
    • List of important phone numbers
    • Toiletries
    • Change of Clothes
    • Photographs of self, children and perpetrator
  • Massachusetts Housing Rights for Victims of Domestic Violence, Rape, Sexual Assault and Stalking

Common Reactions to Violence

Many people are affected by violence. People who have been direct victims of violence as well as family friends and others connected to the victims may react to a violent event.

Whether violence happens to you, or to someone you know, it is normal to feel it personally. People who are direct victims of violence often have physical and emotional reactions that can last for a long time. But other people – family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, emergency service personnel, witnesses to the violence, or those who have something in common with the victims – may also be affected by a particularly violent event. Although each person reacts differently, according to their personality, past experiences, and connection to the event, there are some common feelings and emotions that often occur in those who have been involved in or have heard about a violent event.

Some common reactions to violence and trauma are listed below. Each person may have one or several of these reactions. Printer-friendly versions:  English, Haitian Creole, Spanish, and Portuguese.

  • Cognitive
    • Memory Loss
    • Difficulty Making Decisions
    • Difficulty Concentrating
    • Confusion
    • Losing Track of Time
    • Flashbacks
    • Replaying the Event
  • Psychological
    • Feeling Helpless or Powerless
    • Grief, Numbness
    • Fear or Safety Concerns
    • Guilt
    • Vulnerability
    • Reliving Prior Trauma
    • Mood Swings
    • Nightmares
    • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Physical
    • Fatigue
    • Trouble Sleeping
    • Eating Problems
    • Nausea, Diarrhea
    • Sweating, Rapid Pulse, Chest Pains
    • Back or Neck Pain
    • Being Easily Startled
    • Catching Colds or Flu
  • Spiritual
    • Loss of Faith
    • Questioning Faith
    • Spiritual Doubts
    • Withdrawal from Faith Community
    • Lapses in Spiritual Practice
    • Despair
  • Relational
    • Withdrawing from or Clinging to Others
    • Alienation from Friends, Family
    • Breakdown in Trust
    • Changes in Sexual Activity
    • Doubts About Relationships
    • Feeling Co-Workers Don’t Understand
    • False or Distorted Views of Others
    • Alternating Demanding or Distant with Others
    • Irritability

Rape & Sexual Assault

*This section contains Resource Materials that are compiled by and property of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center

  • Surviving Rape: Time Sensitive & Important Information

    If someone you know has been sexually assaulted recently, there are time periods and information you and the survivor should be aware of.

    Rape is an act of violence and control, using sex as a weapon. It is NOT motivated by sexual desire, but by the desire to overpower and dominate the victim. Rape affects all genders from EVERY race, class, and age group. Over eighty percent of all rape victims have some acquaintance with their attackers.

  • Boston Area Rape Crisis Center: Who we are and what we do

    Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC) is a community-based organization with a mission to end sexual violence through healing and social change. Our services include individual counseling, group counseling, hotline counseling, medical advocacy, legal advocacy, community education and professional training. All of our services are free of charge and confidential.

    Our hotline is staffed 24 hours a day and is for anyone affected by sexual violence: 617-492-RAPE (7273) or 800-841-8371

  • What You Can Do

    Be sensitive to what the survivor is telling you. Always believe them, and support whatever they say and decide. Rape is very traumatic and rarely does anyone lie about being raped. Rape can happen to anyone. Listen and respect the survivor’s choices and provide them with accurate information. Refer them to providers who can help the survivor if they want it.

  • Guidelines for Medical Treatment
    1. Determine how long since the assault.
    2. Evaluate immediate safety.
    3. Determine the survivor’s immediate concerns.
    4. Present available resources.
    5. If the survivor is interested in medical care, refer them to the nearest SANE hospital.
  • Time Sensitive Issues

    If a survivor wants to get a rape kit (evidence collection kit), they should:

    • Not bathe, shower, brush their teeth or go to the bathroom. This is important to preserve evidence.
    • Not change their clothes. If they already have, they can place the original clothes in a clean paper bag.
    • Go to an emergency department that is a SANE site within 120 hours of the assault (5 days).

    Within 72 hours:

    • Test for any drugs if the survivor suspects being drugged.
    • Start HIV Prophylaxis if appropriate after assessment.

    Within 120 hours:

    • Get a medical examination at a SANE site –SANE nurse whenever available.
    • Forensic evidence collection kit (rape kit) can be done.
    • Start pregnancy prophylaxis “morning after pill” if appropriate.
    • Get STI prophylactic treatment.
    • Call your local Rape Crisis Center to get medical advocate accompaniment.

    After 5 days:

    • Survivor should see his or her own doctor.

    Survivors do not need to report to the police in order to get medical treatment or to have evidence collected.

  • SANE Hospitals

    When someone is assaulted within the past five days, they should be referred to a SANE hospital. Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program (SANE) consists of certified nurses. They provide coordinated, expert forensic care necessary to increase prosecution of sexual predators. The SANE program delivers the highest level of care to sexual assault victims accessing hospital emergency departments, 24 hours a day. They are currently available at designated hospitals in all regions of the state. In the Boston area, they may be available at Boston Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Beth Israel, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Cambridge Hospital and Children’s Hospital Boston. For information on SANE hospitals outside of the Boston area, please call our hotline at 617-492-RAPE (7273) or 800-841-8371.

  • Legal Information

    The forensic evidence collection kit will be preserved for 6 months, regardless of whether a police report has been filed. If a police report is not filed within 6 months but may be filed at a later time, the survivor may request that the kit be held for another 6 months. It is crucial that the survivor know the kit # because all kits are stored anonymously.

    Under MA law, the survivor may file a police report within 15 years of a rape or 27 years after child sexual abuse. A civil lawsuit may be filed within 3 years of a sexual assault. There are exceptions to the MA criminal and civil statute of limitations. If a survivor has questions about an individual situation, the survivor should consult with a legal advocate or attorney.

  • Victim Compensation

    A victim of a sexual assault in MA may be eligible for financial compensation from the state for crime related expenses. To the extent insurance or other funds do not cover expenses, the survivor may be reimbursed for medical, counseling and dental expenses as well as lost wages. A victim compensation application must be filed within 3 years of the crime; if the survivor was under the age of 18 when the crime occurred, the survivor may apply until age 21.

    Please contact the Attorney General’s Victim Compensation and Assistance Division at (617) 727-2200 x2160 or on the web for more information. You may also contact BARCC’s Legal Advocacy Program at 617-492-8306 for assistance with the application process.

  • What to Expect After the Incident

    Every survivor reacts to rape in her/his own unique way. Some express their emotions – they may talk, cry, or scream – while others prefer to keep their feelings inside. Some will tell lots of people about the rape, while others wait months or years before discussing the rape. It is important to respect each person’s choices and individual style of coping.

  • Immediate Crisis Stage

    Despite individual differences in style, there are stages that almost every survivor goes through. Listed are the feelings a survivor may feel.

    • Fear: It is normal to feel afraid after being raped. Some survivors find it very hard to be alone at night, or in a setting like the one in which they were raped.
    • Anger: The survivor may feel outrage at what happened. The anger may be towards the rapist, people they love, the world, or themselves.
    • Loss of Control: Survivors often feel powerless. They have been robbed of control over their bodies.
    • Guilt: Many survivors feel like it is their fault. We live in a culture that blames the survivor. No one deserves to be raped.
    • Survivors may also be feeling isolated, have difficulty sleeping, find they can’t eat or sleep, have nightmares or can’t concentrate.
  • Important Sexual Assault and Violence Recovery Resources
    • Boston Area Rape Crisis Center barcc.org | 24-hour hotline (800) 841-8371 | web chat hotline
    • Violence Recovery Program at Fenway Health for LGBT survivors of violence and abuse website

Resources

If you're a provider click here for Information. If you're in need of resources, please see the list below.

Mandated Reporting

Department of Children and Families

1-800-792-5200
24 hour hotline

To File 51A you need to call the local office of the city/town where client lives. If you don’t know the local office number you can call the hotline.

Massachusetts Elder Abuse Hotline

1-800-922-2275
24 hour hotline

Disabled Persons Protection Commission

1-800-426-9009
24 hour hotline

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