Across the nation, reports of bias-motivated threats and assaults are rising, and Massachusetts is no exception. A hotline set up by the Attorney General’s office for residents to call-in bias-motivated threats, harassment, or violence received nearly 2,000 calls in just the first two months of 2016. In response, Fenway Health’s Violence Recovery Program (VRP) has launched a public awareness campaign called “You Deserve.” The campaign is aimed at lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) victims of bias-motivated harassment and assault, as well as sexual and domestic violence, and is designed to raise awareness of VRP’s free recovery services.
Earlier this year, the VRP opened offices in Harwich and Springfield, bringing its service locations to five, including three in Boston. With this expansion, the VRP can now offer its free counseling, support groups, advocacy, and referral services to many more LGBTQ victims of bias crime, domestic violence, sexual assault, and police misconduct.
The “You Deserve” campaign launched June 19 with the release of two statewide radio ads. Paid video ads will also run on Facebook and other digital channels, and print ads and informational flyers will be distributed in local communities. The overall message of the campaign is that everyone deserves to feel loved, respected, and safe—and that when someone does feel unsafe, they deserve to be believed and to get help.
“We hope that by bringing more awareness to this important subject and getting the word out about our new offices in Harwich and Springfield, the ‘You Deserve’ campaign will encourage survivors of violence to feel comfortable in seeking help,” said Cara Presley, VRP Program Manager.
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