Introducing RESPOND’s new Support Line!
Same number, new hours!
Monday – Friday
8:00AM to 8:00PM
Somerville, MA – COVID-19 has changed so much in our world, including the needs of survivors of domestic violence. As numerous news outlets have reported, calls to domestic violence hotlines have actually been down throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
For the past 14 years, the National Network to End Domestic Violence has conducted a one-day count of survivors seeking domestic violence services in the United States. Consistently, the greatest unmet need for survivors of domestic violence is Housing and Emergency Shelter. This past year, in the state of Massachusetts alone, of the 441 unmet requests for service in one day, 54% were for Housing and Emergency Shelter. Now, this was before the COVID-19 pandemic.
While our hotline has seen an overall decrease in the number of calls, we’ve seen a 133% uptick in requests for shelter and housing services. In order to meet this need, we have decided to redirect our services to where the need is greatest.
By pivoting our 24-hour hotline to a support line available from 8:00AM to 8:00PM Monday through Friday, RESPOND will be able to shift its focus to developing deeper program offerings in response to the changing community needs during COVID-19. Our data shows that only about 10% of calls to RESPOND’s hotline are received outside of the 8:00AM to 8:00PM window. This change will not limit resources for survivors of domestic violence because outside of these hours, survivors still have many options, including Massachusetts’s statewide 24/7 toll-free domestic violence hotline, SafeLink, and the National Domestic Violence Hotline, both of which offer bilingual services in both English and Spanish and have access to a service that can provide translation in more than 130 languages.
From 8:00AM to 8:00PM, Monday through Friday, RESPOND will continue to support survivors of domestic violence, those concerned about a loved one, and community partners via our Support Line at (617) 623-5900. To meet the increased need for housing support, resources are being redeployed within our Residential Services Program, as well as our recently expanded Housing Program where our team assists survivors in conducting housing searches, submitting applications, and overcoming obstacles to housing stability. Survivors of domestic violence face unique challenges when looking for a new, safe home, including building up credit, learning to explain poor credit (due to financial abuse), cultivating financial literacy, and budgeting skills. RESPOND plays a critical role in the home search, serving as an advocate for survivors to landlords, housing authorities, and courts.