Executive Order

Executive Order No. 437: Governor's Task Force on Sexual Assault and Abuse

Date: 04/30/2002
Issuer: Jane M. Swift
Mass Register: No. 947
Revoked and Superseded by: Executive Order 450

WHEREAS, sexual violence cannot be tolerated in our Commonwealth and must not go unpunished as the result of any institutional barrier;

WHEREAS, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reports that over 10,000 hotline calls were made to Massachusetts Rape Crisis Centers in 2001;

WHEREAS, the number of rapes reported to the police in the Commonwealth in 2000 represented 5.6% of total violent crimes reported;

WHEREAS, the number of rapes and attempted rapes reported to the police increased 11% from 2000 to 2001 in Boston and the rate of rapes in Worcester and Springfield that year far exceeded that of Boston, Lowell or Cambridge;

WHEREAS, over 5000 children are known to have been sexually abused each year in Massachusetts;

WHEREAS, sexual violence runs deep in the fabric of our society and it is critical that preventative and therapeutic services throughout the Commonwealth be readily accessible and structured to create a coordinated statewide response system for all victims of sexual assault and abuse; and

WHEREAS, the citizens of this Commonwealth must be free from fear of sexual violence and assured that all of our state agencies and institutions are effectively equipped to protect them from sexual assault and abuse and that all perpetrators of sexual assault and abuse will be held fully accountable for their acts.

NOW THEREFORE, I, JANE M. SWIFT, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Supreme Executive Magistrate, do hereby order as follows:

Section 1. There is hereby established the Governor's Task Force on Sexual Assault and Abuse (the "Task Force"). The Task Force shall advise and make recommendations to the Governor as to how the current system of services delivered throughout the Commonwealth to address sexual violence may best be enhanced to improve the treatment and support provided to these victims of sexual assault and abuse and to ensure that such violence will not be tolerated.

Section 2. Specifically, to further its objective, the Task Force shall take into account the varying regional needs of the Commonwealth and

  • Create an inventory of all existing services provided throughout the Commonwealth to victims of sexual violence, including, without limitation: direct, therapeutic services; prevention education; medical, law enforcement and legal response services; and other support services;
  • Conduct regional hearings to gain understanding about the pervasiveness of sexual violence, barriers to the reporting of sexual assault and abuse, issues concerning accessibility to existing services and the response of our medical, law enforcement and legal systems to reports and acts of sexual violence;
  • Seek input from state and local providers of services addressing sexual violence and others invested in the prevention and treatment of sexual assault and abuse;
  • Identify gaps in services and explore ways to remediate such gaps; and
  • Issue a written report to the Governor summarizing its findings and prescribing short term and long term recommendations.

Section 3. The Task Force shall consist of no more than thirty (30) members and shall be chaired by the Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, or his designee, and the Secretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety, or his designee. The membership of the Task Force shall include a representative of the Department of Social Services, Department of Public Health, Department of Mental Health, Department of Youth Services and Office of Child Care Services. It shall also include representatives from various public and private organizations with particular expertise in the prevention and treatment of sexual assault and abuse. The remaining members may include service providers, relatives of victims of sexual violence and other individuals with knowledge and experience in the fields of violence prevention and education, psychology, prosecution and counseling. The members shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor.

Section 4. The Task Force may call upon and utilize additional services of individuals and entities from outside its membership for support, research, or other functions necessary and appropriate to accomplish the objectives of the Task Force.

Section 5. The Task Force shall meet at such times and places as established by the Co-Chairs, provided that it issues its written report of findings and recommendations to the Governor by September 9, 2002.

Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston this 30th day of April in the year two thousand and two.

Jane M. Swift
Governor
Commonwealth of Massachusetts

William Francis Galvin
Secretary of the Commonwealth

Contact for No. 437: Governor's Task Force on Sexual Assault and Abuse

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