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Domestic and Gender Based Violence Prevention Initiative

Members training for DGBVPI

The Domestic and Gender-Based Violence Prevention Initiative (DGBVPI) engages and mobilizes Cambridge’s communities, agencies, and City departments to change attitudes, behaviors, policies, and practices to prevent and bring attention to domestic and gender-based violence.

In collaboration with community leaders, local agencies, and interested citizens, the DGBVPI develops and provides accessible, safe, and relevant strategies and resources to prevent and respond to domestic violence in Cambridge. Services include training, consultation, building collaborations across various sectors in Cambridge, and coordination of systems of change in order to ensure compassionate and supportive environments for survivors of domestic and gender-based violence across the city.

Start by Believing Pledge Recommitment

Wednesday, April 13, 2:00 p.m.
Front Steps of Cambridge City Hall, 795 Mass. Ave.

The City of Cambridge is recommitting to its 2019 pledge to being a Start by Believing community.
Start by Believing is an international public awareness campaign transforming the way we respond to sexual assault.

Tips and FAQs

What are the purpose and guiding principles of the DGBVPI?

The initiative seeks to engage and mobilize Cambridge’s communities, agencies and City departments to change attitudes, behaviors, policies and practices to prevent and bring attention to domestic and gender-based violence.  In collaboration with community leaders, local agencies and interested citizens, the initiative will develop and provide accessible, safe and relevant strategies and resources to prevent and respond to domestic violence within all communities in Cambridge.

Guiding Principles

The work of the Domestic and Gender-Based Violence Initiative will:

  • be informed by a broad range of Cambridge communities with particular emphasis on communities of color and non-English speaking language groups traditionally underrepresented in decision-making leadership; also essential to a strong and informed collaborative are youth and GLBTQ communities
  • recognize that gender-based violence is connected to societal sexism and unequal power in relationships and as such, see men’s participation as essential to the work as advancing women’s empowerment and dignity
  • collaborate with survivors to develop strategies and resources that consider their safety and well-being
  • engage youth to challenge narrow gender roles and redefine relationships
  • view gender-based violence holistically and acknowledge economic, racial and social injustice as well as the pervasive presence of violence 
  • be framed by multi-cultural perspectives that invite innovative, creative ideas and engage in restorative approaches
  • rely on deeply formed partnerships as well as foster expanded relationships with City departments, agencies, community groups and grassroots organizations
  • commit to continually evaluate our efforts and progress

How did the DGBVPI get started?

The Cambridge Domestic and Gender-Based Violence Prevention Initiative has been built on the foundation of the work done through the Cambridge Domestic Violence Free Zone. On March 7, 1994, the Cambridge City Council passed a resolution defining the city as a Domestic Violence-Free Zone (DVFZ) directing all municipal and city-affiliated organizations to work collaboratively to reduce family violence.

 In 1997 eleven key projects were developed by a collaborative group within Cambridge. Learn more about the DV Free Zone in this historical document. (Please note that contact information in this document is out of date.) 

In an effort to reinvigorate the Domestic Violence focus in Cambridge, (Former) City Councilor Marjorie Decker held a community forum and began a DV awareness campaign in 2011.  Learn more about the 21 Days of Questions 365 Days of Action campaign. Marjorie Decker, along with a planning group, coordinated an effort to collect over 1000 questions from people across Cambridge. 

Following additional community forums, the City of Cambridge made a commitment to create a new position in order to coordinate ongoing efforts on domestic and gender-based violence in City. The “Coordinator of the Domestic and Gender-Based Violence Prevention Initiative” was hired in October, 2014. The Cambridge Domestic and Gender-Based Violence Steering Committee is tasked with implementing the goals of the Initiative.

Where can I find Community Resources for Help and Information?

Transition House

hotline: (617) 661-7203
business line: (617) 868-1650


hotline: (617)623-5900

GBLTQ Violence Project

hotline: (800)832-1901

Boston Area Rape Crisis Center

Hotline: (800)841-8371


Guidance Center
(617) 354-2275

Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services

Protective Services Program
Hotline: (800) 922-2275
Business Line: (617) 628-2601 ext. 3420

Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers

(617) 864-7600  Emerge(617) 547-9879

Cambridge Legal Services and Counseling Center

(617) 661-1010

If you would like your agency or organization to be added to the list of resources, please contact Liz Speakman.

Were can I learn about the Assets and Needs Assessment?

Over the spring and summer of 2015, the Cambridge Domestic and Gender-Based Violence Prevention Initiative conducted an Assets and Needs Assessment in order to gain a better understanding of the how the issues of sexual and domestic violence in Cambridge are currently being addressed, what is working well, and what are the unmet needs of those affected by these issues. The Steering Committee conducting this Assessment reached out to community residents, local non-profits, businesses, youth, universities and City departments. Below is a link to their findings.

Assets and Needs Assessment Report with Recommendations October 2015

If you are interested in talking with us, please contact the Coordinator of the Domestic and Gender-Based Violence Prevention Initiative.

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