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Jane Doe Inc. Leads 2024 Advocacy Day on Beacon Hill to Support Key Legislative and Budget Priorities

Along with survivors, advocates, and legislators, JDI called for critical policy action to support survivors and prevent violence

Boston, MA – On Friday, March 15, Jane Doe Inc. (JDI), the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, was joined by more than 300 people for its 2024 Advocacy Day at the Massachusetts State House. JDI coalition members, survivors, advocates, and partners from across Massachusetts came out in full force for the first in-person Advocacy Day since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

The day kicked off with a speaking program in the Great Hall, before attendees participated in smaller group meetings with legislators and staff to discuss key priorities, including:

  • Vital funding in the FY2025 state budget, including fully funding the $60 million request for the VOCA Bridge, to mitigate impending cuts to the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) and maintain essential services;

  • H.4241: An Act to Prevent Abuse and Exploitation – which adds essential protections for survivors, including against image-based sexual assault and coercive control;

  • H.1399/S.1079: An Act Relative to Controlling and Abusive Litigation – which will help prevent individuals from using the legal system to harm and control others;

  • S.1979: An Act Establishing a Prison and Jail Construction Moratorium – which would pause the construction of new prisons and jails in Massachusetts in order to shift spending priorities to community investments;

  • H.3084/S.1990: Language Access and Inclusion Act – which would require state agencies to meet language access, including for survivors; and,

  • H.544/S.268: Healthy Youth Act – which would ensure age-appropriate, medically-accurate sex and relationship education critical to preventing future sexual and domestic violence.

State Representatives Natalie Blais and Michael Day and State Senator Robyn Kennedy spoke with attendees about the important bills before the legislature, and to express their support for survivors and those in attendance.

“Today, your stories are reverberating in this Great Hall and echoing throughout the hallways of this building,” said Representative Blais. “Your efforts are making a difference in impacting lives across the Commonwealth as we strive to end violence for everyone.”

Senator Kennedy shared a similar sentiment, saying “Legislation is moving here because your voice matters. Because you’re speaking up, you’re representing the survivors across our Commonwealth, who need to make sure our laws are changing [and] improving to protect them.”

Representative Day added “The work that you all do educating us on what survivor-centric and what trauma-informed truly means has made the difference in what we’ve been able to accomplish and what we’re going to accomplish here in the legislature moving forward.”

JDI Executive Director Debra Robbin spoke to the tangible impact of collective advocacy on ensuring that available resources more fully reflect the needs of survivors and direct service organizations. “It’s important to understand how much our advocacy means and how successful we have been at collectively raising the funding that supports services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault,” she said. “Just for perspective, 10 years ago, we asked for about $31 million for survivor services. And now, in 2025, we are asking for $67 million. We have more than doubled funding in 10 years.”

JDI is incredibly thankful to all of those who attended to share their stories and raise their voice in support of critical policies that will strengthen services, uplift survivors voices, invest in communities, and advance life-saving protections for those experiencing sexual assault and domestic violence. We look forward to continuing the work alongside survivors, advocates, and policymakers to ensure this legislation succeeds.


Attendees of JDI’s 2024 Advocacy Day gathered on the Grand Staircase in the State House. Photo Courtesy of Stefanie Belnavis, @thediahannproject

Hema Sarang Sieminski, JDI Deputy Director, Ren Liu, JDI Communications and Outreach Manager, Nithya Badrinath, JDI Associate Director of Policy and Advocacy, and Debra Robbin, JDI Executive Director, pose for a photo in the State House. Photo Courtesy of Stefanie Belnavis, @thediahannproject

Advocates in conversation with Hema Sarang Sieminski, JDI Deputy Director, at JDI’s 2024 Advocacy Day in the State House. Photo Courtesy of Stefanie Belnavis, @thediahannproject


Advocates pose ahead of connecting with legislators at the State House during JDI’s 2024 Advocacy Day. Photo Courtesy of Stefanie Belnavis, @thediahannproject


JDI (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 60 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.