About Us

Safe Havens Interfaith Partnership Against Domestic Violence and Elder Abuse is an interfaith organization that promotes hope and justice for victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence and elder abuse.

Our Mission Statement

Safe Havens empowers diverse faith communities and their local service providers to work together to end domestic and sexual violence and elder abuse.

Our Vision Statement

No one should have to choose between faith and safety. This is why Safe Havens works to build a world in which all people are treated with dignity and respect and in which domestic and sexual violence and elder abuse no longer exist. We envision a time when every religious and spiritual community can fully embrace their unique and vital role to support survivors, provide prevention education, and speak out with moral authority against abuse and the systemic oppressions and inequities that undergird abuse.

Safe Havens Values in Action

Safe Havens puts its values into action when we:

  • believe survivors and take them seriously

  • trust survivors to make the best decisions about the way forward

  • treat all faith leaders, advocates, and service providers with respect

  • honor all faith traditions

  • center the worth of everyone we work with in everything we do

DIGINITY

  • support survivors of abuse and hold those who abuse accountable

  • work to end racism, sexism, ageism, heterosexism, classism, and other structural inequities that support abuse

  • seek to be allies of all communities who experience abuse in their own unique ways

JUSTICE

  • believe that every human being has the right to be safe: in their school, their car, their work, their congregation, their community, their world, their home

  • always refer survivors of abuse to domestic and sexual violence services

SAFETY

  • validate a survivor's feelings, fears, and concerns

  • know that abuse is never the victim's fault

  • promote support for survivors from proactive, trained clergy

  • promote healthy relationships and physical and spiritual wholeness for survivors of abuse, their children, their faith communities, and their families

  • support fair wages, affordable housing and day care, and other public policies that allow survivors of abuse to thrive

  • look beyond surviving abuse to healing and thriving.

PEACE & WELLBEING

  • see the situation through the survivor's eyes

  • meet survivors, faith leaders, faith communities, and advocates on their own terms

  • know the pain of abuse and work to eliminate it

COMPASSION

  • we affirm that there are many caring people in our congregations and communities

  • believe that survivors should be able to be both faithful and safe

  • trust that we can make a difference

  • know that healing and new life are possible

  • believe that abuse will never have the last word.

HOPE

History of Safe Havens

DECADES OF MAKING AN IMPACT

1984

While working in a domestic violence shelter in Boston, Safe Havens’ founder, Anne Marie Hunter, heard many victims name their faith as the reason they had stayed in an abusive relationship.  

1991

Hunter and other concerned women of faith founded Safe Havens (formerly known as Boston Justice Ministries) to strengthen the capacity of diverse faith communities to play a role in a community-wide effort to respond to victims of domestic violence in Greater Boston. Early support and office space are provided by Old West Church (United Methodist) in downtown Boston.

1992

Safe Havens launches the Vigil Project to help congregations  remember victims of domestic violence, call faith leaders to work with Safe Havens to support those affected by DV, and create long-term social change.  Boston’s Old West Church hosts the first vigil.

1993

Safe Havens begins a campaign of consciousness raising about domestic violence and faith in congregations across New England.

1998

Safe Havens launches the Family Violence Prevention Project (FVPP), a ground-breaking, comprehensive, protocol-driven, faith-based response to domestic and intimate partner violence.  So far, 60 diverse congregations (Jewish, Muslim, and Christian) have completed the innovative 22-hour training.

2000

Safe Havens begins work with the Jewish Domestic Violence Coalition of Greater Boston and other local Jewish organizations.

2002

Safe Havens is invited to present its Family Violence Prevention Project training model to the National Advisory Committee on Sexual and Domestic Violence, a joint committee of the U.S. Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services.

2003

Safe Havens is invited by the Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women to provide technical assistance to support advocates across the country.

2004

Safe Havens provides technical assistance to the 15 pilot sites across the U.S. chosen to participate in the President's Family Justice Center Initiative.

2004

Safe Havens launches the Manna in the Wilderness Project to provide outreach and education to faith communities in Greater Boston in order to strengthen prevention, early intervention, accountability, and social change. So far, more than 300 diverse faith leaders (Christian, Muslim, Jewish) in Greater Boston have received training.

2005

Safe Havens introduces Used Cell Phone Drives as a means to educate congregations about domestic violence, engage allies, support victims, and provide funding for Safe Havens’ faith-based programs in Greater Boston.

2007

Safe Havens begins collaboration with the Peaceful Families Project and local Muslim congregations and service providers to address domestic violence in Boston’s Muslim community.

2007

The Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers (MAPS) and Safe Havens begin to collaborate to train Portuguese-speaking faith leaders and to strengthen MAPS’ capacity to reach out to and train faith leaders. 

2008

Safe Havens is chosen by the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) to collaborate with the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life on the Elder Abuse and Faith Project. A groundbreaking toolkit, Where Faith and Safety Meet, and a partnership guide, Partnering to Address Faith and Safety are created to confront elder abuse.

2009

Safe Havens is chosen by the Office on Violence Against Women to provide faith-based Technical Assistance to OVW’s rural grantees across the U.S. Safe Havens develops resources, provides training, and launches a web-based platform to support rural advocates and faith leaders.

2011

Safe Havens partners with the Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center, the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, the Islamic Center of Boston, Wayland, and the Islamic Council of New England to provide 15 hours of training on Islamic perspectives on peaceful families, values surrounding personal worth and dignity, and responses to domestic violence. 

2011-2012

Safe Havens advocates in Washington DC for the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).  Safe Havens provides important testimony in support of the Department of Justice's VAWA Reauthorization Committee about the impact of VAWA on victims and survivors, and especially on victims and survivors of faith.

2013

Safe Havens is chosen by the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community (IDVAAC) to lead Boston’s participation in the African American Domestic Peace Project. 

2014

Safe Havens is a partnering agency in the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts’ work to develop and provide culturally competent services to victims and survivors in Boston’s African American community.

2015

Safe Havens is chosen by the Office on Violence Against Women to provide faith-based Technical Assistance to OVW grantees across the U.S. Safe Havens will develop new resources and provide training.

2015

Safe Havens bestows its first ever IMPACT Awards on Rev. Traci Jackson Antoine, the Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers, and Jake Segal for helping to further Safe Havens's work in "impactful" ways.

2016

Safe Havens celebrates 25 years of working at the intersection of domestic violence and elder abuse and faith.  Here's to the next 25 years!

2016

Safe Havens receives $100,000 Grant from The Cummings Foundation to expand our Safe With Faith initiative in diverse congregations in Suffolk, Essex and Middlesex counties.

2017

Safe Havens celebrates Professor Emily Rothman, ScD and Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar at its 3rd Annual IMPACT Award celebration.

2017

Safe Havens completes its rural work for OVW which included developing toolkits for rural advocates and faith leaders, a partnership guide, and a training manual. Staff also traveled to 20 rural communities to provide technical assistance to rural service providers and their community faith leaders.

2017

Safe Havens partners with Journey to Safety, the DV program at Jewish Family & Children’s Services, and the Jewish Domestic Violence Coalition to produce its second annual “Many Voices, One Message” campaign.  More than 100 Jewish clergy across Massachusetts sent the message that domestic abuse will not be tolerated in the Jewish community.