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  Glossary of Terms

Domestic Violence Shelters

What are domestic violence shelters?

Am I eligible?

How do I apply?

Domestic violence shelters in the Worcester area

NOTE: Glossary words are highlighted. Click on any glossary word to see its definition.

What are domestic violence shelters?

Domestic violence shelters are safe places where survivors of domestic violence can live for several months while they get help. There are different types of domestic violence shelters. Some are funded by the Department of Children and Families (DCF), and some are run by non-profit organizations. Some are "safe homes" provided by members of the community.

Domestic violence shelters are for women and children in immediate danger. All have 24-hour hotlines, and all services are confidential.

Domestic violence shelters usually allow stays up to 90 days. Extensions can be granted. Shelters operate on a first-come first-served basis and have strict rules to protect residents (no contact with the batterer, no drug or alcohol abuse, etc.)

Am I eligible?

Domestic violence shelters are for women and children fleeing from violent and dangerous living situations. To be eligible:

  • You must be willing to leave your home to protect yourself and your children from further abuse.

  • You must follow the shelter's rules about confidentiality to guarantee the safety of the shelter residents.

  • You do not need a restraining order to be eligible.

How do I apply?

To get help, you should call the Daybreak Resources for Women and Children hotline at 508-755-9030. The Daybreak hotline will accept collect calls.

You may also call one of the shelter hotlines or offices listed below.

A staff member will discuss your situation with you, find a shelter for you, and work out a plan to get you and your children to the shelter safely.

Domestic violence shelters in the Worcester area

  • Abby's House

    52 High Street
    Worcester, MA 01609               Map and directions
    Telephone: 508-756-5486
    Office hours: 24 hours a day, every day of the year
    Web site: Abby's House Shelter

    Eligibility: Homeless women, with or without children, survivors of domestic violence, age 18 or older, no current alcohol or drug use.

  • New Hope (Webster and other locations)

    6 River Court
    Webster, MA 01570               Map and directions
    Telephone: 508-949-0452
    Hotline phone: 1-800-323-4673 (24 hour hotline)
    Office hours: Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 4 PM
    Web site: New Hope

    Eligibility: Women and children fleeing domestic violence. Must be 18 years of age or older. Most services are free.

  • YWCA of Central Massachusetts


    P.O. Box 3093
    Worcester, MA 01610
    Telephone: 508-755-5371
    Hotline phone: 508-755-9030 (24 hour hotline)


    P.O. Box 1209
    Leominster, MA 01453
    Telephone: 978-537-2306
    Hotline phone: 978-537-8601 (24 hour hotline)

    Web site: YWCA Central Massachusetts: Domestic Violence Victim Services

    Eligibility: Any victim fleeing domestic violence and needing support services
    Note: All services follow an empowerment based advocacy model. All services are free and completely confidential.

Also see Massachusetts Shelters for Women and Children Fleeing Domestic Violence on the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless web site.

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