We know it takes a lot of strength to make life choices that bring change.

Sometimes those choices and changes can be frightening – even if you believe they’re the right ones.

When those changes include finding ways to be safe from an abusive partner, you risk facing increased abuse and violence – making a hard decision harder, especially if you not only fear for your safety, but also for the safety of your children.

That’s why we offer support.

We’ll talk with you about what you’re going through and your fears and concerns about what might happen to you in the future. Then we’ll explore different ways you might be able to protect yourself from danger, how to navigate the legal system and, if you need it, where you can find a safe place to live – emergency shelter, longer-term transitional housing, and options provided by the social service system.

We will never tell you what to do, we are here to listen – and to offer support and information.

Bilingual Services

Bilingual advocates are available to provide French speaking individuals with linguistically and culturally informed support and advocacy services. Hope & Justice Project facilitates connections with community and institutional resources needed to achieve safety, goals, and to aid victims to address their experiences of abuse and violence.

Des défenseuses bilingues avec compétences linguistiques et culturelles sont disponibles aux individus francophones qui ont besoin d’un soutien informé et de plaidoierie. L’organisme Hope & Justice Project facilite les liens avec les ressources communautaires et institutionnelles pour assurer la sécurité et les buts, et pour aider les victimes à confronter leurs expériences d’abus et de violence.

We also collaborate with local interpreters and translators in order to be helpful to victims of abuse who are experiencing additional language barriers.

Disability Services

We provide services to anyone who has been affected by abuse and violence. We want to be helpful to you – no matter what your physical, emotional, or cognitive abilities/limitations look like. We are willing to work with you to provide the accommodations you need to achieve safety. To learn more, please call our 24-hour helpline at 1-800-439-2323. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, use your preferred relay service to connect with this helpline.

Economic Empowerment

Hope & Justice Project provides a financial intake process for victims and survivors of abuse. In collaboration with New Ventures Maine, we assist individuals in receiving financial literacy, planning, and the support needed to achieve long-term safety and independence goals of home ownership, self-employment, and/or higher education.

Group Support

Feeling isolated or alone? Come meet others who share similar experiences and then work together to help each other stay strong and move ahead, no matter where on the path of life you happen to be. We offer support groups in Houlton, Presque Isle, and the St. John Valley.

Our support groups offer a safe space for you to talk about your experiences with others who have gone through similar things. Call the office nearest you to learn more.

Emergency Shelter

If you’re a victim of abuse and violence, it might seem like you’ll never feel safe again. You may think that finding a safe place to stay is an impossible dream. Here’s some good news: there is a safe haven. We welcome adults and children at our emergency shelters in the Saint John Valley, Caribou, and Houlton. At each shelter, we offer emotional support, information, and advocacy – and help you stay safe as you consider how to handle your situation and think through what’s going on in your life. We can help you find the community services you need to stay safe and to work toward self-sufficieny.

Transitional Housing and Services

If you’re working to stay safe and free from relationships that involve violence, you might want to consider living in our transitional housing. We welcome survivors of domestic abuse for up to two years. It’s safe, affordable, and includes the kind of supportive services that will help you succeed.

Legal Advocacy

If you would like some help, the first step is to meet with a Hope & Justice Project advocate. Once she understands your circumstances, the advocate …

  • Can help you file complaints – documents that explain your situation and how you would like that situation to be resolved – with the court. The most common are:
    • Complaint for Protection from Abuse
    • Complaint for Protection from Harassment
    • Complaint for Determination of Parental Rights and Responsibilities
    • Complaint for Divorce
  • May be available to accompany you to court in Houlton, Presque Isle, Caribou, Madawaska, or Fort Kent.

When you talk openly with an advocate, you help her to make an informed decision about whether or not to refer your case to one of our partner attorneys, who may then be available to represent you in a Protection from Abuse matter and in other family-law matters.

To make an appointment with an advocate, please call our hotline – 1-800-439-2323.

We may be able to provide the assistance you need over the phone. If not, we’ll work with you to find a way to meet face to face. We understand the challenges of time, transportation, distance, and privacy – and the threat that your partner may be to your safety – so we’ll be as flexible and resourceful as possible as we work to get you the support and information you need.

LGBTQ+ Services

Abuse is abuse – regardless of your relationship make-up. Abuse and violence happen at about the same rates – if not higher – in LGBTQ+ relationships as in heterosexual relationships. It’s about one person in the relationship seeking to have control over the other person – and believing they are entitled to it. Abuse in LGBTQ+ relationships can differ from abuse in heterosexual relationships. The abusive person may specifically attack their partner’s sexual orientation or gender identity, or use homophobic, biphobic or transphobic messages to justify their actions. The LGBTQ+ Power & Control Wheel is a helpful tool for understanding the tactics that an abusive partner could use in an LGBTQ+ relationship.

Still have questions? Hopefully the following information will provide clarity for you.

What is LGBTQ+?

LGBTQ+ is an acronym standing for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer. The “+” signifies that one acronym can’t capture everyone’s experience of their gender identity or expression and/or sexual orientation. Sometimes the “Q” is also associated with Questioning or the idea that not everyone is in a place where they feel comfortable identifying as a specific label. “Queer” is a word that historically has been used as a slur or insult against gay men and women. In recent years, it has been reclaimed by the LGBTQ+ community to be an umbrella term for someone who is not heterosexual and/or cisgender.

How Can We Help?

Hope & Justice Project advocates are trained to provide services to any victim of abuse or violence. We do not discriminate based on someone’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or age in the delivery of our services.

In fact, many of our advocates have received special training in working with LGBTQ+ victims/survivors of abuse. If you would like to talk to or meet with one of these advocates, call the office nearest you.

Resources Directory

Wondering where to turn? Here’s a comprehensive list of local, state, and national organizations and social service agencies that you might find very helpful. In addition to using our directory, you may wish to talk with one of our advocates to be sure you are connected with the help you deserve.

Aroostook County Food Pantries

Other Aroostook County Resources

Safety Planning

A safety plan includes any steps you can take to increase your safety – whether you live with your partner, are preparing to leave, or have left. If you are struggling with where to start, this template may be helpful to you. And don’t forget to consider the technology you are using to currently access this website in your safety plan.

Here are some suggestions. Everyone’s situation is different, so you’ll have to choose the ones that work for you. We’re always available to talk about different ideas and help you think about your options. Just call our hotline at 1-800-439-2323.

If you live with an abusive partner

If you live with an abusive partner, here are some things to think about – and do – to help you get and stay safe.

  • Plan possible exits you can use from your home or apartment if an argument erupts.
  • Keep an extra set of keys, money, and a packed bag ready in case you need to leave quickly.
  • Learn how to disable your cell phone’s GPS locator if it has one, so your abuser can’t track your movements.
  • Create a code word or signal to use with your children, friends, family, or neighbors to let them know when you need the police or other help.
  • Be cautious about what you post on social networking sites.
  • Learn how to clear your computer’s browser history.
  • Make plans to go to the home of a friend or neighbor – somewhere safe and a place your abuse won’t look for you – if you need to leave home.

If you’re preparing to leave

Leaving can increase your danger since many abusers will step up the violence they use to control you. Here are some steps you can take to help you stay safe.

  • Pack a bag with things you’ll need to take with you: identification, driver's license, car registration and title, birth certificates for you and your children, money, bank books, keys, medications, social security cards, address book, clothes – or leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents, and extra clothes with someone you trust, so you can leave quickly.
  • Open a bank account in your name and rent a post office box so you can receive mail.
  • Talk with family, friends, police, or staff at community agencies you can count on for support.

If you’ve left

Starting out on your own can be a challenging and difficult time. If you’ve left, here are some steps you can take to stay safe – and keep your children safe – while you create your new life.
If you have a protection from abuse order or family matter judgment, give copies to your child’s schools and childcare. Let them know who has permission to pick up the children and give them your code word.

  • If you have to arrange child visits with your abusive partner, exchange children in a public place or through a third party.
  • Get support. Talk to one of our advocates and/or attend a support group.
  • If you have to communicate with the abuser, talk by phone or take another person. with you.
  • If there’s someone at work you trust, tell him or her about your situation. If you work in a small business, this person may just be a co-worker. If you work for a larger company, you might want to alert your office or building security, and provide a photo of your abuser if possible. Arrange to have someone screen your calls.
  • When you leave work, make plans to be escorted to your car, and then vary your route home. Drive to the nearest police station if you’re being followed – and find out where it is before you need it!

Social Service Advocacy

In Aroostook County, resources are limited and it can be challenging to know where to turn when times are tough. If it’s something we don’t directly provide, we can help connect you to the people who do. We will help point you in the right direction for services for financial assistance, mental health/substance abuse counseling, or anything else that you may need assistance with.

We have worked hard to compile a Resource Directory for those we serve in Aroostook County. In addition to using our directory, you may wish to talk with one of our advocates to be sure you are connected with the help you deserve.

Technology Support

Technology can be very helpful to people, but it can also be misused – especially by someone who is intent on keeping track of where you are, what you are doing, and who you are talking to. Whether you are living with someone who is abusive to you, have left or are making plans to leave, or simply want to minimize the risk of someone stalking you through your phone or internet connections, we can help.

For starters, you may find this Technology Safety Plan helpful. It includes information on disabling the GPS tracking device on your phone, using safe devices, and privacy settings on social media. If you are accessing our website on a computer or device that is shared with others, you may wish to learn more about clearing your internet browser history.

Lastly, if you need face to face help with any of these things, we have advocates who are ready to assist you at the office nearest you.

Young Adult Services

Young adults experience the highest rates of abuse than any other age group. Roughly 1 in 3 young adults report experiencing abuse or violence in their dating relationships.

We recognize that if you are a young adult, you may have experienced minimization and a lack of validation from other adults when it comes to your relationship. If you are looking for someone to confide in about what is happening in your relationship, let’s talk! We can help you figure out whether your relationship is healthy or, if you believe what you are experiencing is abuse, we can give you the accurate information you need to move forward.

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We are not here to judge or tell you what to do. You know what is best for you and we want to support you in whatever you want your life to look like.

Sometimes a good place to start is taking our quiz to try to determine if you are experiencing abuse. If you are experiencing abuse or you are concerned that a young person in your life might be, check out this brochure we developed to be helpful to victims of dating abuse. And if you are interested in learning more, check out our events during Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Month in February.

We are only a phone call away - 1-800-439-2323 – and we are available any time, any day.