For MGH Professionals

For Supervisors

Definition of abuse

Supportive Resources

HAVEN at MGH (Helping Abuse and Violence End Now)
HAVEN is a free and confidential program that serves employees, patients and members of the community who have been affected by intimate partner abuse. With services on the main campus and the Health Centers of Revere and Chelsea, HAVEN provides counseling, education, support, safety planning and connection to community resources.  We do not require a referral or insurance.  We are also available for training and consultation on supporting survivors and responding to disclosures.  HAVEN can be reached Mon-Fri from 8:30-5:00 at 617-724-0054.  Managers and Supervisors may also contact the Director of HAVEN at 617-726-7674.


If an Employee Self-Discloses:  Guidelines for Managers/Supervisors

  • Communicate your concerns for the employee's safety.  Communicate that you are concerned for the safety of their children if there are any. 
  • Tell the employee that you believe them and that what is happening is wrong.  No one deserves to be hurt.  (Many survivors have been told by their partners that the abuse is their fault and they often feel very responsible for what is happening to them)
  • Tell the employee that HAVEN and MGH Police and Security can help with safety planning, based on the wishes and needs of the employee.
  • Be clear that your role is to try to help and not to judge.  The employee needs to know that someone cares, will listen and can help them find the right resources.  Many survivors hide their experience and feel shame and guilt about what is happening.  Disclosure can be a very worrisome time for them as they have been threatened by their partner to not tell anyone.
  • Refer to HAVEN as a resource with expertise in counseling employees who are living with domestic violence and knowledge about services. Let the employee know they can call HAVEN when they are ready.  Also let the employee know about Safelink, the Massachusetts DV hotline 877-785-2020,
  • Discuss concerns about the employee's situation confidentially with HAVEN consultation and support as needed, involve Security if there is a concern about workplace safety, or with Human Resources regarding Earned Time or Paid Time Off, leaves and performance issues.  Do not discuss the employee’s situation with anyone else without permission.


  • Why don’t you just leave?
  • What did you do to provoke your partner?  
  • Why did you wait so long to tell someone? 
  • Don’t use labels such as “battered” or “abused.”
  • Don’t tell the employee what they must do.


  • If possible, rework the employee’s work assignment or schedule to decrease stress.
  • Follow up to see how the employee is doing.  Ask general questions such as “How are you doing?” “How are things going?”
  • Respect the employee’s privacy, do not ask questions about the relationship going forward unless they talk to you.
  • Maintain your relationship as manager/supervisor, not as counselor.

In order to be safe, an employee may want to seek help during the workday.  If possible, rearrange the work schedule so that there is time during lunch or breaks for them to call or meet with HAVEN
A survivor of intimate partner abuse may choose to stay in or return to an abusive relationship out of fear for safety, economic survival, religious convictions, or out of shame. As managers and supervisors, it is not our place




Last Updated 9/17/2020