BOSTON (WHDH) - Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced an array of additional resources for domestic violence and sexual assault victims to utilize during the coronavirus outbreak.
Polito said during a news conference at the State House that SafeLink — the state’s statewide, 24/7, toll-free and confidential domestic violence hotline — has been expanded to now include resources and support for survivors of sexual assault.
“To anybody that might be watching, know that you are not alone and that there are resources available to help you,” Polito said. “We see you, we believe in you, and we are here for you.”
SafeLink previously served as a hotline to specifically connect domestic violence survivors to services.
The expansion of services will allow SafeLink to triage calls to local area rape crisis centers and create a centralized number for any survivor of domestic violence or sexual assault to call and receive services during the COVID-19 public health emergency, according to Polito.
“In some circumstances, these necessary steps of social distancing and staying home have left survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence particularly vulnerable,” Polito said.
The hotline is designed for crisis intervention support for those who need assistance in safety planning measures for both themselves and their families.
The resource is now available through the 2-1-1 line as an additional method for victims to access help and resources.
The SafeLink toll-free number is 877-785-2020. For the hearing-impaired, the SafeLink TTY number is 877-521-2601. Advocates are available in English and Spanish and can provide translation in more than 130 languages.
Polito urged anyone experiencing violence within their home or those who are concerned about a loved one that may be experiencing violence, to call the SafeLink hotline for support and resources.
“If you are at home with someone who has abused you, please call for help when you can see the person but are far enough away that they can’t hear you,” Polito said. “This is the best way to ensure that reaching out for help, does not further endanger you.”
Anyone who is in immediate danger should call 911.
(Copyright (c) 2020 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)