RESPOND provides a range of support services and educational programs to thousands of survivors of domestic violence each year including adults, children and teens (of all gender identities) regardless of race, religion, age or other characteristic. RESPOND staff work with survivors of domestic violence to address their immediate and long-term needs, providing emotional support, counseling, financial resources, information and referrals. Through RESPOND’s programs, individuals and families in crisis develop the concrete tools necessary to regain control of their own lives—from parenting skills and housing search to financial literacy, and the hands-on experience of advocating for themselves. Services are free, confidential and currently offered in multiple languages.
RESPOND’s emergency shelter is a confidential location that serves 8 families and up to 21 individuals escaping domestic violence, irrespective of race, gender or sexual orientation. During their stay our trained Domestic Violence Counselors partner with the survivors to secure housing, employment, child services, care providers and other resources needed to move forward into a safer future for their family. The shelter provides a safe environment by ensuring 24 hour coverage provided by the trained, domestic violence counselors and direct care staff. Shelter residents are able to participate in on site groups ranging from wellness support groups to yoga classes. Volunteers who run fun and interactive playgroups are also offered for children. The shelter provides a stabilizing environment where residents can explore their unique interests, strengths and self-worth, while simultaneously building a sustainable path to independence in their time after shelter life.
Law Enforcement Partnerships
RESPOND has founded and co-founded 4 multidisciplinary “High Risk Teams”. The multidisciplinary High Risk Teams (HRT) include our partners in law enforcement, probation, parole, mental health, abuser education and a variety of other local support service providers who have contact with the abuser and/or the victim. The team focuses on early identification of high risk domestic violence cases; victims are referred due to a much greater risk of being killed by their partner. The HRT serves to monitor and hold offenders accountable while providing comprehensive life saving services to increase victim safety. Additionally, RESPOND has Domestic Violence Counselors embedded on site in the Malden, Melrose, Wakefield, Woburn and Reading Police Departments. The Counselor is able to connect with victims of domestic incidents within 24-48 hours of the initial call. Counselors are able to identify cases that have the potential to escalate and provide access to RESPOND’s 24 hour crisis services. This is a proactive measure to reach survivors and initiate services as opposed to waiting for survivors to find the time in this time of crisis where survival is the primary focus.
Community Corrections Response
Survivors of Abuse Feeling Empowered for Re-entry (SAFER) is a unique collaboration between RESPOND and the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department which helps people who are incarcerated or detained work through their experiences with domestic violence and plan for a safe space to go once released. The program provides support both in individual and group settings for all victims of domestic abuse before and after release from custody. The Community Corrections Response Coordinator and Domestic Violence Counselors provide emotional support, classes, court accompaniment, case management, safety planning and discharge planning. The RESPOND staff also work closely with probation, courts, and other agencies connected to survivors to provide the best opportunity for success.
Community Intervention and Education
RESPOND’s Community Intervention & Education Program provides services to survivors in the community no matter where they are in the cycle of violence. We work with folks who may still be in the relationship, who have been out of the relationship for years, or who want resources to help a friend. Since we recognize that survivors often have a lot on their plates, we are flexible and can meet folks outside normal business hours at our Community Services Center. Our services are wrap-around, trauma-informed, client-led, and range from individual counseling to support groups. Depending on the need, our meetings can include emotional support or work on practical steps to achieve a clear goal, such as how to leave safely, how to obtain child care, or how to plan for building a new life. In addition, we provide basic needs and assistance to those we serve.
Answering a call from the community, RESPOND provides education and training initiatives focused on a variety of domestic violence topics, including signs of domestic abuse, bystander intervention, teen dating violence for parents and teens, and domestic violence in the workplace.