Policy & Systems Advocacy
Jane Doe Inc.'s (JDI) policy work is driven by the safety, liberty, and dignity needs of victims and survivors of sexual and domestic violence. We work closely with our member programs and other state coalitions to ensure that administrative policy and practices of systems, state and federal legislation, and budget priorities, reflect the needs and experiences of victims and survivors. JDI member programs make up the JDI Public Policy Committee that advises and informs the Coalition’s legislative and budget advocacy agenda.
Our multi-pronged approach to prevention and intervention involves working in the legislative, judicial, and administrative arenas on both the state and federal levels. Every day we interact with elected officials and government agencies to educate about sexual and domestic violence issues and the impact of particular proposals. The work isn’t over once federal and state laws are passed. JDI along with our members and sister coalitions then turn to the critical work of implementation and monitoring.
Essential to JDI’s policy advocacy success is the unity of voices of members, survivors, and other community allies. The government administration, legislature, and other policy makers listen to their constituents about the true stories of sexual and domestic violence in their communities. By helping to tell these stories, JDI advocates for funding and legislative change that will help create a safer and healthier Commonwealth.
JDI works with our membership to ensure that Massachusetts has a strong network of services that provide critical, community-based resources to meet the needs of sexual and domestic violence survivors and their families. Along with our members, we educate and inform the Massachusetts Legislature and Governor’s Office about financial resources that are needed so that local programs can adequately provide shelter, advocacy, and other crucial support services to the victims/survivors they serve.
- Learn more about the state budget process
- Find out about the current status of our budget advocacy efforts and how you can help.
Improving the law is one important tool for addressing the needs of victims and survivors. JDI works with our members, allied organizations, and elected and government officials to assess the need for legislative change and advocate for those changes.
Many bills are filed each legislative session that are related to sexual and domestic violence. JDI actively works on several bills through drafting, direct advocacy, and testimony, and contributes to and provides feedback on many more. At each step of the process, we analyze the impacts and implications of legislation for victims and survivors.
- Check out JDI's current legislative priorities
- Learn how the legislative process works: JDI's Guide to Legislation and Massachusetts General Court's Guide
JDI also advocates for victim-centered public policy on the federal level. We actively engage with the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation to advocate federal acts and initiatives that provide legal options and/or funding. For example, the success of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), Victims of Crime Act, and Family Violence Prevention and Services Act depend on our continued advocacy. We also provide elected officials and federal agencies with feedback about the impact of new legislation such as the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA).
JDI staff and board members representing member programs travel annually to Washington, DC to meet with the Massachusetts Delegation, and meet with Senators and Representatives in their districts. Throughout the year, JDI collaborates with our sister coalitions from all US states and territories in federal advocacy and with organization and support from the National Network to End Domestic Violence and the National Alliance for Ending Sexual Violence.