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. I joined the staff in 2015 and I am proud to be here now in my new role because this is a cause and an organization I care about deeply. The Second Step works to break the cycle of intergenerational violence by helping individuals and families escape abuse, heal from trauma, and achieve long term stability.

When we say domestic violence, many people think only of physical violence, but it is more than that. It is a pattern of controlling behavior meant to coerce and intimidate that can include emotional, psychological, financial, and sexual abuse.

Sadly, but not surprisingly, high rates of depression and suicide are correlated with experiencing domestic violence. And, in fact, many of our clients tell us that healing from cuts and bruises can be easier than healing from the emotional damage caused.

The effect this has on a person, on a child, and on a family is profound. And the impact it has on our community cannot be overstated. Domestic violence is one of the primary causes of poverty and homelessness for women and children. Nationally, those experiencing domestic violence lose 8 million paid workdays at a cost of 8 billion dollars annually. In 2008, Massachusetts declared domestic violence a public health emergency.

How does The Second Step help?

Thirty years ago, our founders opened the doors of our first shelter to women who had courageously fled their homes because of abuse. We provided a safe, nurturing place for them and their children to heal, rebuild and regain independence. Since 1992, we have expanded to provide a continuum of comprehensive services for survivors.

We opened a second transitional living residence and doubled the number of families who live with us. But we are so much more than just a shelter. To our residents and those living out in the community we provide advocacy and case management that includes free legal services; safety planning; support groups; and assistance finding basic needs and permanent housing. We work side by side with each survivor to help them achieve long term stability and well-being.

Today, we celebrate the success of countless courageous survivors who escaped abuse and built new lives full of possibility. And we also celebrate the amazing staff at The Second Step.

TSS staff are an extraordinary group of highly skilled professionals who do hard, lifesaving work every day. They support survivors in taking all the small, necessary changes that will make profound and sustainable difference in their lives. They do it with grace and compassion and with the firm belief that people can heal from their past and create a safe, prosperous future.

Thank you for investing in our work and being our partners in making change.

Sue Ross, Esq.
Executive Director, The Second Step