2011: Policy Year in Review
June 05, 2012
2011: Policy Year Review
Across the Commonwealth as well as the nation, a lagging economy continued to impact families and the human service and advocacy organizations striving to help them. With this backdrop, Jane Doe Inc. and our member programs redoubled our efforts to meet the needs of victims and survivors of sexual and domestic violence and to promote opportunities for prevention. Our efforts paid off as Massachusetts made progress in increasing needed supports and funding and reforming policy.
Thanks to Jane Doe Inc. members and all of our allies across the Commonwealth and in the Legislature, state funding for direct services for sexual and domestic violence survivors fared well in the budget cycle. There was even a slight increase in domestic violence funding services in one line item over the prior year, progress toward restoring the item after significant cuts in FY10. The final key budget line item amounts for FY12 amounted to:
4513-1130 (Department of Public Health (DPH): $5,507,970
- funds includes sexual assault, RISE, GLBT, BIP and prevention services
4800-1400 (Department of Children & Families (DCF): $20,725,062
- funds support services for people at risk of domestic violence
4510-8100 Department of Public Health (DPH): $3,160,740
- funds Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) and pediatric SANE program
2011 Legislative Victories
Jane Doe Inc. and our members advocated for a number of important legislative issues. We are proud to have worked with many of our community partners, members of the House and the Senate, Governor Patrick and Attorney General Coakley to secure passage of two significant pieces of legislation:
An act relative to gender identity: http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2011/Chapter199 This law creates “gender identity” as a group protected against discrimination in areas of housing, education, credit, and employment and also adds the terminology into hate crimes law. More work needs to be done to include public accommodations in the law (JDI Testimony to Judiciary Committee)
An act relative to the commercial exploitation of people: http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2011/Chapter178 This law includes penalties for those who engage in human trafficking as well as those who are consumers. This law encompasses safe harbor provisions that will treat youth’s who come into contact with law enforcement as victims of trafficking instead of delinquents. There are also provisions in the statute for services for survivors. (JDI Testimony to Judiciary Committee)
Jane Doe Inc. continues to advocate for safety, justice, and dignity for all survivors of sexual and domestic violence through our involvement in a variety of different collaborations. JDI continues to participate actively on the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual and Domestic Violence as well as with a number of the Council’s related groups including collaboration with Veteran’s Affairs on Military Sexual Trauma and a working group exploring a Domestic Violence Fatality Review process.
JDI has also been active in advocacy in response to a variety of administrative changes within State Government systems that have a special impact on survivors. Some of these changes include housing reform and access to child care subsidies, both critical for people experiencing domestic violence and trying to achieve economic empowerment.
Looking ahead to 2012
JDI’s legislative priorities will include protections and supports for victims of sexual and domestic violence and stalking in the areas of housing (S586/H386) and employment (S918). Through our testimony and advocacy, we continue to garner additional support each year for these two bills. In fact, S. 918, an act relative to employment leave, was reported favorably out of the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development in mid-December.