DOVE: Community Support to End Domestic Violence

DOVE, which stands for Domestic Violence Ended, is a nonprofit organization that provides crisis intervention, risk assessment and safety planning, supportive counseling, emergency shelter, legal services, community outreach, education and training - all in the name of ending domestic abuse.DOVE is the only domestic violence organization that provides shelter and services in Norfolk County, MA. Since 1978, DOVE has acted under the belief that "all people have the right to live without fear of abuse."

"We have a primary catchment area in Norfolk County but, that being said, we don't turn anyone away," says Director of Development & Communications Dawn Hayes.

The organization is intended to be a safe haven for victims of dating and domestic violence. It supports and provides anti-violence education to the local community, often through local groups, churches and schools, in order to prevent violence before it starts. Hayes explains that DOVE is "grounded in advocacy, survivor-centered and trauma-informed approaches."

This means that DOVE aids each domestic violence victim in their journey, but does not mandate actions that a person should take. Instead, it acts as a support system, showing each person who seeks help that they have resources available to them - whether they are trying to leave an abusive relationship, seeking legal action, or trying to cope with the after-effects of domestic abuse.

Since 1978, DOVE has responded to more than 45,000 phone calls via a 24-hour hotline, aided more than 3,000 people through community service programs, and sheltered almost 5,000 families.

In addition to providing phone and refuge help, DOVE offers educational and support groups on a variety of topics to help people prevent and cope with domestic violence. Some of the topics include: healthy relationships, healthy coping strategies, economic self-sufficiency, healing with yoga, and creative writing. The group also provides a program called YouthSpeak, which was established in 2006 as a way of promoting healthy teenage relationships in high schools in Norfolk County and Plymouth County. Through YouthSpeak, DOVE helps train upperclassmen in high schools to be counselors who can provide support to their school throughout the year.

"No one should live in fear of physical harm in their own home or anywhere else, for that matter," Hayes says. "I believe, to be successful, one has to feel deeply about the mission of the organization they work for. I feel that way about DOVE. I work hard everyday to help continue the critical work we do."

For DOVE's 24-hour crisis hotline, call (617) 471-1234.

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