'First Of It's Kind' Domestic Violence Hotline Launches In Western Mass.

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — A first-of-it's-kind regional hotline launched in Western Massachusetts this week, as part of a national movement to help reduce domestic violence.

According to Monica Moran, the Manager of the Domestic Violence Prevention Project at the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, the free and confidential hotline called 'Ten to Ten' is designed for people who abuse or may abuse their partners who are looking to change their ways.

"It's for people want to learn how to be safe in their relationships and not harm their partner --- but its also for the friends and family and professionals around them who want advice," Moran said. "If they're worried about somebody that they know and want some sort of coaching on what can they do. So it's a way of bringing everybody into the solution."

Moran said Ten to Ten does not replace the requirements of court-ordered groups or rehab, but works in tandem with those services. It's launch comes while the Covid-19 pandemic continues, and domestic violence groups across the country respond to increasingly nuanced and complicated situations.

"Not only did domestic violence rates go up, but it felt a little inauthentic to say to be saying to victims and survivors 'leave!' People couldn't leave during the pandemic, they're quarantined," Moran said.

When a person calls the hotline, the first thing that staff will do is share what is going on, or detail the concerns they are having about their friend or family's situation.

"If [they] are ready to look at the decisions that [they're] making from a new perspective -- we'll look at that with [them]," Moran said.

She added that the hotline also works to address racial inequities in how these types of cases are handled.

"As we know, and we're all learning, [the] criminal justice system hasn't worked in the same way for people of color, and people of color in domestic violence," she said. Moran cited that when a woman of color calls the police about a domestic violence or abuse situation, she is three times more like to get arrested herself than if a white woman calls.

The Ten to Ten hotline operates everyday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the number (781)-989-3411. The funding for the service comes from the U.S. Cares Act passed last year -- as well as the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

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Written by Rachel Armany

(Photo: Getty Images)

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