JDI works with our members, allied organizations, and elected and government officials to assess the need for changes to the Massachusetts General Laws and to help develop legislative remedies that will advance how we meet the needs of survivors.

As one of the foremost experts on sexual and domestic violence in Massachusetts, JDI’s opinion and participation is sought as bills are drafted, discussed, and decided. Each two-year legislative session, from the time legislation is introduced until the final vote, JDI to influence the outcome of bills filed that specifically relate to sexual and domestic violence and/or will have an impact on the lives of survivors and their families. Our strong reputation and relationships on Beacon Hill have yielded numerous advances over the past four decades.

Highlight of Legislative Successes in the 2019 – 2020 Legislative Session

An Act Relative to Well-Being & Care of a Child (Lift the Cap on Kids)  (2019 Massachusetts Acts Ch. 11)

  • Eliminating the harmful “family cap” on TAFDC which prohibits families from receiving benefits for some children.
  • Lead Sponsors: Sen. Sal DiDomenico & Rep. Marjorie Decker

An Act Relative to Justice, Equity and Accountability in Law Enforcement in the Commonwealth (2020 Massachusetts Acts Ch. 253)

  • Establishes the Massachusetts Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission (POST to establish policing standards, certify law enforcement officers, investigate allegations of misconduct and suspend or revoke the certification of officers; restrict the use of no-knock warrants, and limits on the use of rubber bullets, tear gas and dogs; creates a duty to intervene and requires the use of de-escalation tactics before physical force.
  • Lead Sponsors: Drafted by Committee

An Act to Remove Obstacles and Expand Abortion Access (ROE Act) (2020 Massachusetts Acts Ch. 263)

  • Updates Massachusetts laws regarding abortion by, among others, codifying the right to an abortion, removing parental consent requirement for those aged 16 years old and up, and updating language to be medically accurate.
  • Lead Sponsors: Sen. Harriette Chandler & Reps. Patricia Haddad and Jay Livingstone

An Act Relative to Sexual Violence on Higher Education Campuses (2020 Massachusetts Acts Ch. 337)

  • Requires institutions of higher education to conduct and post results from a campus sexual misconduct climate surveys, to adopt policies that comport with best practices and current professional standards regarding the handling of sexual misconduct involving students or employees, to obtain memorandum’s of understand with community based sexual and/or domestic violence service providers, and to designate a confidential resource provider on campus. Also directs the Commissioner of Higher Education to appoint a campus safety advisor.
  • Lead Sponsors: Sen. Michael Moore & Reps. Lori Ehrlich and Tricia Farley-Bouvier

Policy Spotlights

Employment Protections for Survivors

When survivors are unable to access or maintain stable employment, their safety is compromised. Survivors shouldn’t have to choose between accessing the services and healing they want and keeping their jobs. This is why we are highlighting these two pieces of...

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Preventing and Improving Responses to Sexual Violence

Improving Protections for Sexual Assault Survivors! #SAAM2021 Did you that the current sexual assault protection law in Massachusetts has loopholes that can prevent survivors from accessing the safety they need? Victims of domestic violence can obtain a restraining...

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JDI’s policy and systems advocacy efforts on behalf of survivors is a pillar of the Coalition’s work.  Your support allows us to sit at decision making tables, educate policy makers, and mobilize support for programs that provide life-saving work every single day.

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