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"I spoke out to put a face to the issue for the millions of women, men and children who suffer in silence and to say that you are not alone. Help is available." ~ Ayanna Pressley, Boston City Councilor (Photo by Christopher Mason)

Jane Doe Inc. applauds new law to address housing rights of victims and survivors of sexual and domestic violence and stalking

 

January 3, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                  

Contact;  Maureen Gallagher, Policy Director

Office: 617-557-1808   Mobile:  857-334-4489

January 3, 2013.  After many years of advocacy, Jane Doe Inc., the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, is pleased that an Act relative to housing rights for victims of domestic violence, rape, sexual assault and stalking was enacted by the Legislature and signed into law today by Governor Patrick.

Jane Doe Inc.’s Executive Director Mary R. Lauby explained why this bill has been one of JDI's priority legislative proposals, “Inadequate and unsafe housing options contribute to the economic instability that some victims face. This law removes obstacles as it creates new options for rape victims and victims of domestic violence and stalking who may need and want such protection.”

This new law will provide rights and protections in the following ways:

  • Protects victims from financial penalties of early lease termination for reasons related to violence committed against them.
  • Prevents owners from refusing to rent to a victim if they have terminated a rental agreement under provisions of the law.
  • Authorizes lock changes, at tenant’s expense, to increase safety from violence.

Massachusetts joins at least 28 other states that statutorily provided some form of housing laws that protect victims of sexual or domestic violence; Federal housing programs across the US provide similar protections.  

Jane Doe Inc. has made this a priority bill for several legislative sessions, and has worked closely with Senators Creem and Eldridge, Representatives Story and Honan and other legislators. JDI collaborated with other partners to successfully bring these needed changes to the Commonwealth including Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, Greater Boston Legal Services and the Victim Rights Law Center.

 

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For a comment or analysis, please contact JDI’s Policy Director Maureen Gallagher at 617-557-1808 or mgallagher@janedoe.org.

 

Jane Doe Inc. (JDI) is the statewide advocacy coalition of 60 community based member agencies that provide direct services to sexual and domestic violence survivors throughout Massachusetts. JDI is a social change organization committed to addressing the root causes of sexual and domestic violence and promoting justice, safety, and healing for survivors.


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