Executive Order

Executive Order  No. 450: Establishing the Governor's Commission on Sexual and Domestic Violence

Date: 05/07/2003
Issuer: Mitt Romney
Mass Register: No. 974
Revoking and Superseding: Executive Order 357
Revoking and Superseding: Executive Order 437
Revoked and Superseded by: Executive Order 486

Table of Contents

WHEREAS, Executive Order No. 357 reiterated the existence of a state of emergency in this Commonwealth resulting from the unacceptable frequency and severity of domestic violence;

WHEREAS, Executive Order No. 357 reestablished an Advisory Commission on Domestic Violence to make recommendations to the Governor on all aspects of the domestic violence crisis in the Commonwealth;

WHEREAS, Executive Order 437 declared that sexual violence cannot be tolerated in our Commonwealth and must not go unpunished;

WHEREAS, Executive Order No. 437 acknowledged that 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;

WHEREAS, Executive Order 437 established the Governor's Task Force on Sexual Assault and Abuse to advise and make recommendations to the Governor as to how the current systems of services delivered throughout the Commonwealth to address sexual violence may best be enhanced to improve the treatment and support provided to victims of sexual assault and abuse and to ensure that such violence will not be tolerated:

WHEREAS, said Advisory Commission and Task Force did effectively and thoroughly consider each of these aspects of sexual and domestic violence, making useful and well-considered recommendations;

WHEREAS, there remains in this Commonwealth an unacceptable frequency and severity of sexual and domestic violence;

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth must continue to coordinate and integrate policy on all aspects of sexual and domestic violence at the highest levels of state government, and to maintain cooperation within the public safety, health, human services, educational, legal, religious and business communities; and

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth must ensure that all of our state agencies and institutions are: protecting people in the Commonwealth from sexual and domestic violence; providing the necessary services and legal protections to enable survivors to achieve health and safety; and ensuring that perpetrators are held fully accountable for their acts.

NOW THEREFORE I, Mitt Romney, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Supreme Executive Magistrate, do hereby revoke Executive Order Nos. 357 and 437, and order as follows:

Section 1. There is hereby established the Governor's Commission on Sexual and Domestic Violence. It shall be the responsibility of the Commission to make recommendations to the Lieutenant Governor and the Secretaries of Public Safety and Health and Human Services on all aspects of sexual and domestic violence in the Commonwealth. The Lieutenant Governor will report such recommendations to the Governor. In support of this objective, the Commission shall:

a. obtain, interpret, and apply current research and evaluation information to program initiatives and policy development and identify and suggest solutions to address gaps in current knowledge and dimensions of sexual and domestic violence;

b. consider the need for further legislation to protect victims, punish and treat perpetrators, and reduce and prevent the incidence of sexual and domestic violence;

c. consider further policy initiatives to assure effective, uniform, and collaborative response by law enforcement, criminal justice, judicial, health and human service agencies, including but not limited to the enhancement of interagency communication and cooperation, as well as the timely and accurate sharing of information between law enforcement, criminal justice, judicial personnel, the private bar, and other victim service providers;

d. consider measures which will better enable victims of domestic violence (and sexual violence when applicable) to transition from violent relationships to violence-free lives, including providing victims with necessary protection, shelter, advocacy, counseling, and other identified services;

e. consider measures to prevent and reduce the incidence of sexual and domestic violence through public education and awareness that sexual and domestic violence are criminal acts; and

f. consider such other measures to address sexual and domestic violence, and child sexual abuse, as the Commission deems appropriate.

Section 2. The Lieutenant Governor or her designee shall Chair the Commission. The Secretary of Public Safety and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, or their designees, shall be vice-chairs of the Commission. The Commission shall be located within the Executive Office of Public Safety. The number of public and private members may be limited at the discretion of the Chair but shall consist of the following additional members: the Secretary of Elder Affairs, Commissioner of the Department of Education, the Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development, or their designees; in addition, the Governor shall appoint at least one representative each from the Office of the Attorney General, the district attorneys of the Commonwealth, victims' assistance agencies, police departments, certified batterers' programs, the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, the Massachusetts Senate, the Massachusetts House of Representatives, the Massachusetts District Court(s) to be appointed with the approval of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court, survivors of sexual and domestic violence, the religious community, and such other members as the Governor deems appropriate. Commission members shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor and without compensation.

Section 3. The administrative operations of the Commission shall vest with an Executive Director, who shall be appointed by, and serve at the pleasure of, the Chair. With the approval of the Chair, the Executive Director may create committees to carry out the Commission's responsibilities. The Chair shall appoint chairs or co-chairs to lead each committee. Any such committee chair shall serve at the pleasure of the Chair.

Section 4. The Chair shall appoint a Steering Committee. The Steering Committee shall be responsible for developing and implementing plans to carry out the mandates established in Section 1 above, and any other goals established by the Commission. The Steering Committee shall establish a specific time frame for the accomplishment of any such plan. Section 5. The Commission 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 Commission.

Section 6. The Commission shall meet at such times and at such intervals as the Chair or her designee shall direct.

Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston this 7th day of May Two Thousand and Three

Mitt Romney
Commonwealth of Massachusetts

William Francis Galvin
Secretary of the Commonwealth

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