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"We need to wake people up to the attitudes and actions that continue to keep victims at risk and our cities, towns and cultural communities unsafe." ~ Paulo Pinto, MPA, Executive Director, MAPS - Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers

National Studies Expose Epidemic of Sexual and Domestic Violence in Massachusetts, country

WHAT:       Jane Doe Inc. (JDI) will release three recent national studies that expose the prevalence and pervasiveness of sexual and domestic violence here in Massachusetts and around the country and call for more support to address this epidemic.

WHEN:       Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 11:30 AM

WHERE:     Massachusetts State House, Grand Staircase

WHO:         Jane Doe Inc. Executive Director Mary R. Lauby and Senate President Therese Murray

The studies also point to long term health, safety and stability impacts for victims and their children.  Advocates say the data underscore the need for well resourced intervention and crisis services as well as prevention initiatives to support victims, hold offenders accountable and create safer communities.

Mary R. Lauby, Executive Director of Jane Doe Inc., believes these studies issue a wake up call that more must be done in the private and public spheres to address this epidemic. Lauby said, “We simply cannot ignore this public health and public safety issue that affects as many as 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men in Massachusetts. The cost in lives, and in dollars, is staggering.”

Among the key findings are:

Ø       Nearly 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men in MA experienced sexual violence victimization other than rape.

Ø       Nearly 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men in MA experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner.

Ø       Nearly 1 in 7 women have in MA have been raped.

Ø       In one 24-hour period in September 2011, 56 programs reported providing services to a staggering 1,799 adults and children while 479 requests for services were unmet.

Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) said, “The facts uncovered by these studies clearly illustrate a serious and continuing problem. In the Senate, we have continued to take steps to help the victims of domestic and sexual violence. In 2010, we passed legislation to provide rights and safety remedies for victims of domestic violence and, in January, we passed a bill that allows victims to get the help they need without the fear of being fired. We will continue to support the victims of domestic and sexual violence in Massachusetts and, together, we will work toward a solution.”

Following the press conference, JDI and its member organizations will take this message to the legislators as part of the coalition’s annual advocacy day.  JDI is seeking support to restore state funding for services and prevention to Fiscal Year 2009 levels. 

The report on the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey issued by the CDC along with the Domestic Violence Census demonstrate the extent of the problem and demand for services.  The Non-Residential Services Study quantifies (illustrates?) how programs in Massachusetts are meeting these needs.  Details of the reports will be available at the press conference.

Lauby added, “The story, though, is not entirely bleak. The reports all confirm that local community based advocates can and do make a real difference in the lives of victims and helping them move from violence to safety. We’re calling on our elected officials and the public to stand with us in saying we will tolerate “No More sexual and domestic violence” here or anywhere.”


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