Pets, Prevention, and Victims' Rights on Agenda: Sexual and domestic violence advocates urge action to save lives
October 05, 2011
(BOSTON, MA – TODAY) Maureen Gallagher, Policy Director, of Jane Doe Inc., the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, will be on Beacon Hill today to urge the Massachusetts Legislature to take immediate action on three proposed statutes that singly and collectively would provide essential support and safety for victims of sexual and domestic violence.
1) An Act Relative to Strangulation and Suffocation; Sponsor: Rep. Brian Dempsey
The proposed legislation would create a new statute which defines strangulation and suffocation and assigns criminal justice consequences that are more in line with the seriousness of this crime than the current option of a misdemeanor charge of assault and battery. Strangulation is a serious tactic that is used by sexual and domestic violence perpetrators to overpower and immobilize victims—an ultimate act of power exerted by controlling the victims ability to breathe. In fact, strangulation has been identified as a high risk factor for domestic violence homicide.
2) An Act Relative to Domestic Violence and Animals; Sponsor: Senator Katherine Clark
The link between animal cruelty and human violence is well documented. This legislation, along with sufficient funding for domestic violence services and pet shelter resources, will provide an added tool for individuals who are trying to escape an abusive situation but have the care of family pets to address.
3) An Act to Protect & Enhance the Rights of Child & Adult Victims and Witnesses of Crime (Senate Bill 640). JDI supports this legislation to ensure that the court system is accessible to victims and witnesses who are non-English speaking or have disabilities and to families of victims in unsolved homicides.
Jane Doe Inc. is the statewide advocacy and social justice coalition of 60 community-based sexual and domestic violence organizations in Massachusetts. Together with its membership, JDI is making our communities safer today and for future generations.
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