Our Mission

The Second Step is a community of survivors, advocates, and volunteers who foster the safety, stability, and well-being of those who have experienced domestic violence. We provide comprehensive services, including safety planning, legal advocacy, counseling, peer support, transitional housing, and other essential services to adults, youth, and children in Greater Boston and MetroWest.

I need help I want to help

Are you or someone you know experiencing domestic violence?

A Way From Violence

Through Connection

Through Healing

Through Community

To Self Reliance.

Who We Are.

Since 1992, we have partnered with thousands
of survivors to build better futures. No matter where you are in your journey, we are here for you – all the way from crisis to well-being.

Since 1992, The Second Step has partnered with thousands of survivors to address the aftermath of abuse and build brighter futures for themselves and their children. We know that services alone are not sufficient to help survivors heal from their trauma, nor can awareness campaigns make the necessary impact in abuse prevention.

So we find a different way. See how you can contribute today.

We work with clients to connect discrete points of service and build supportive social networks within a framework of trauma-informed care. We help make different social service interventions more effective, bridging gaps between service providers and helping survivors become stronger and more resilient over time.

But we can’t do it alone. Join our community of supporters, and make change in your community today.



A Response to Domestic Violence Homicide in Newton

18 July 18, 2023

NEWTON, Mass., July 18, 2023 – In the wake of yet another domestic violence homicide in Massachusetts this year, local and statewide domestic violence organizations are reminding the public about shelter and safety resources following the tragic death of Nancy Hanson of Newton on Saturday. “We are deeply saddened for Nancy Hanson and her family....

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Meet Our 2023 Boston Marathon Runner: Emily Cummings

10 January 10, 2023

  On Monday, April 17, the Marathon returns to Boston! This year, the City of Newton awarded The Second Step a charity bib, which will be proudly worn by Charlestown resident Emily Cummings. Emily and her wife, Kelly Whittaker-Cummings, a Boston qualifier, are raising funds in support of our life-saving work. We sent Emily a few questions so we...

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Thanks for Giving!

29 November 29, 2022

On this Giving Tuesday, we want to thank our supporters and donors. The Second Step family would not be complete without the generous support of our community. We are incredibly grateful to have a group of people committed to our mission and a future free from domestic violence.

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DVAM 2022

4 October 4, 2022

  October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. This includes a range of behaviors (e.g. slapping, shoving, pushing) and in some cases might not be considered “domestic violence.”  Domestic...

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Executive Director Remarks from Celebrating Success, May 2022

16 June 16, 2022

Sue Ross, Esq. Executive Director I have been involved with The Second Step for almost 15 years. Like many of our supporters, I was introduced when a friend brought me to a fundraising event. My husband and I became donors, and then several years later, I started volunteering with the then-new Steps to Justice Program....

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Celebrating Success Returns Thursday, May 12

5 April 5, 2022

After three long years, Celebrating Success is back! Join us for our 30th anniversary gala on Thursday, May 12, at the Brae Burn Country Club. You will hear insights from guest speaker Bonnie Michelman, Executive Director of Police, Security, and Outside services at Mass General Hospital. We are delighted to welcome our community for another...

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Staff Attorney MacKenzie Mahoney Testifies in support of Improving Protections for Sexual Assault Survivors

21 December 21, 2021

On December 7, 2021, there was a hearing on S939/H1820 An Act Improving Protections for Sexual Assault Survivors before the Joint Judiciary Committee. The Second Step Staff Attorney MacKenzie Mahoney provided oral testimony in support of improvements to our 258E sexual assault/harassment prevention orders. Here is the text of her testimony: “My name is MacKenzie...

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COVID-19 Update: Office Reopening

25 June 25, 2021

With the end of the MA State of Emergency, The Second Step offices are safely reopening. Community advocacy, housing assistance, and legal services for survivors of domestic violence are available in person. (Please note, masks are required in the office for anyone not fully vaccinated.) For those who prefer to access remote services, advocates and attorneys...

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Take Pride with The Second Step

24 June 24, 2021

June is Pride month, the time of year for celebration, remembrance, and honoring all things Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ)! Domestic Violence Advocate, Martina Gauderer, helps The Second Step highlight the importance of LGBTQ+ affirming resources for survivors of domestic violence: As we wrap up Pride 2021, The Second Step is reflecting upon...

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April Is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

29 April 29, 2021

As we close out Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), The Second Step honors the history and legacy of those who have shaped the movement to end sexual violence. Domestic Violence Advocate, Martina Gauderer, shares her connection to SAAM and how she finds power and healing in community:   April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)...

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Get help.

Since 1992, we have partnered with thousands of survivors to build better futures.

If you are afraid for your immediate
safety CALL 911.

Telephone icon

Emergency Shelter
and Safety Planning

SAFELINK (Massachusetts-wide,
24-hour, toll-free domestic violence
hotline): 1-877-785-2020

National Domestic Violence
Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE(7233)

Pet Safety – Domestic Violence
Pet Safety Hotline: 781-235-8460


Call us at:

Our offices are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday, and outside of these hours by appointment.

You can also learn more about our programs here, and email us at:



Steps to Justice

Youth and Prevention