Sexual and Domestic Violence Advocates Gather (Virtually!) to Launch
2023-2024 Legislative Advocacy Season
On Wednesday, March 15, 2023, at 1:30 p.m., Jane Doe Inc. (JDI), the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, will officially kick-off its advocacy efforts for the current state legislative cycle. JDI will present the intersectional framework driving its advocacy approach and announce its legislative priorities.
Hema Sarang –Sieminski, Policy Director at JDI, explained that JDI’s policy and system advocacy reflect the Coalition’s values of recognizing the intersection of racial equity and gender-based violence. Sarang-Sieminski said, “Our approach is centered on the belief that it makes us stronger as a coalition and as advocates to acknowledge that our work to end sexual assault and domestic violence must go hand in hand with our work to end all forms of oppression within our hearts and minds, our programs, the institutions that represent us, and our communities at large.”
On a practical level that means that JDI considers how proposed legislation improves survivor access to safety and justice, advances racial equity, reflects fundmantal protections of human rights and bodily autonomy, supports economic justice, and uplifts the role of education and prevention. In upholding its commitment to racial equity and the dignity and human rights of all people, JDI assesses the impact of public policy on communities of color who are disproportionately represented in and harmed by the criminal legal system and challenges policies that contribute to mass incarceration. In keeping with this analysis and philosophy, JDI does not support increasing penalties for offenses that are already criminalized in Massachusetts.
Nithya Badrinath, Policy Manager at JDI, said, “By shifting the focus away from carceral systems as a primary response to gender-based violence, Instead, the Coalition offers the possibility that investing in survivors will bring about more sustainable and effective change.”
JDI also acknowledges its partner organizations who are taking the lead on several of these pieces of legislation. “Working on coalition has helped us expand and deepen our own understanding of the needs of survivors in connection to punitive systems, housing insecurity, immigrant experiences, and so much more,” added Badrinath.
One hundred advocates and survivors are expected for the “JDI Legislative Priorities Framework and Overview” session on March 15. Sarang-Sieminski and Badrinath will provide an overview of JDI’s nine priority bills:
HD1844/SD1975: An Act to improve protections relative to domestic violence (Lead Sponsors Reps. Natalie Higgins and Tram Nguyen and Sen. Michael Moore
- Adds Coercive Control + Technological abuse as a basis for 209A protection
- Expands DV statute of violence limitations to 15 years
HD2611/SD2054: An Act relative to controlling and abusive litigation (Lead Sponsors: Rep. Natalie Blais & Sen. Michael Moore)
- Provides court with the tools to recognize and respond to controlling and abusive litigation
- Survivors can request an Order Restricting Controlling and Abusive Litigation + financial compensation for costs associated with being dragged into court
HD83/SD274: An Act relative to transmitting indecent visual depictions by teens and the unlawful distribution of explicit images (Lead Sponsors: Rep. Jeffrey Roy and Sen. John Keenan)
- Allows survivors to seek civil and criminal protection from image-based sexual assault
- MA is only one of two states without protection against image-based sexual assault
SD1592/HD3625: An Act Promoting Housing Opportunity and Mobility through Eviction Sealing (HOMES Act) (Lead Sponsors: Rep. Mike Moran and Sen. Lydia Edwards)
- Protects many tenants from being unfairly marked with an eviction record by providing a process for tenants to petition the court to seal the record
HD639/SD1531: An Act Supporting Survivors of Trafficking and Abuse and Encouraging Increased Access to Opportunities Through Expungement and/or Sealing of Records (Lead Sponsors: Reps. Tram Nguyen & Christine Barber, Senators Adam Gomez & Liz Miranda)
- Expands options to expunge and/or seal criminal records without a waiting period for survivors of SDVT
- Increases economic stability by increasing accessibility to jobs and housing with criminal records being sealed/expunged
HD799/SD661: An Act Establishing a Jail and Prison Construction Moratorium (Lead Sponsors: Rep. Chynah Tyler & Sen. Jo Comerford)
- Pauses construction of any new prisons or jails in MA for 5 years, giving MA the opportunity to shift priorities to invest in communities
HD3616/SD1066: An Act Relative to Language Access and Inclusion (Lead Sponsors: Reps. Adrian Madaro and Carlos Gonzalez, Sen. DiDomenico)
- Will standardize and provide enforcement mechanisms for language access in state agencies
HD3874/SD2199: An Act Relative to Healthy Youth (Lead Sponsors: Reps. Jim O’Day & Vanna Howard, Sen. DiDomenico)
- Ensures that when sex ed is taught, it is medically accurate, age appropriate, and LGBTQ+ inclusive
HD2459/SD1937: An Act to Protect the Civil Rights and Safety of All Massachusetts Residents (Safe Communities Act) (Lead Sponsors: Reps. Ruth Balser and Manny Cruz, Senators Eldridge and Miranda)
- Aims to restore community trust in public institutions by avoiding local and state law enforcement entanglement with federal immigration enforcement
- Bars law enforcement from asking about immigration status, upholds due process, and ends 287(g) agreements
The kick-off event is free and open to the public; since the event is virtual, pre-registration is required: https://bit.ly/JDIAdvocacy2023-24.
To learn more about JDI’s 2023-24 Lead Legislative Priorities: https://bit.ly/LegislativePrioritiesJDI
For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Toni Troop, JDI’s Director of Communications and Development at 617-557-1807 or email@example.com.
# # #
JDI (also known as Jane Doe Inc., The Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence) is the only statewide membership and advocacy coalition in Massachusetts dedicated to addressing sexual and domestic violence. We aim to support survivors and end violence by promoting gender equity, racial justice, and safety for everyone. JDI’s mission is to complement and support the expertise and leadership of our 62 community-based member organizations with a statewide strategy involving public and private partners to tackle systemic issues that foster and perpetuate violence, to create policies and explore innovative solutions that improve the lives of survivors, and to prevent gender-based violence. To learn more visit https://janedoe.org.