Executive Order

Executive Order No. 586: Reaffirming and Reconstituting the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

Date: 04/10/2019
Issuer: Governor Charlie Baker
Revoking and Superseding: Executive Order No. 563

Table of Contents

WHEREAS, it is a priority of the Baker-Polito Administration to continue to help individuals, children, and families to live lives free from sexual assault and domestic violence;

WHEREAS, statistics show that troubling problems of sexual assault and domestic violence persist, as documented for instance in the findings of the Center for Disease Control 2015 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men experience contact sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner and report an intimate partner violence related impact during their lifetime;

WHEREAS, in Massachusetts, 2,100 unduplicated incidents of sexual assault were reported to Rape Crisis Centers funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in the twelve months from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017;

WHEREAS, research shows childhood exposure to violence, crime, and abuse can lead to serious negative outcomes for health and well­ being, both during childhood and throughout adulthood;

WHEREAS, ongoing underreporting by certain groups, including but not limited to persons who are LGBTQ, persons with disabilities, the elderly, immigrants, and rural residents, requires improved public awareness of and access to effective programming and services for combatting sexual assault and domestic violence in the Commonwealth;

WHEREAS, since its re-launching in April, 2015, the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence has accomplished the tasks assigned to it in Executive Order No. 563, including successfully working to support effective implementation of key provisions of Chapter 260: An Act Relative to Domestic Violence, which was signed into law on August 8, 2014;

WHEREAS, the Council has advanced other important initiatives, such as in undertaking a 2018 Action Plan to address five priority areas: Assessment and Response; Child Trafficking; Military, Veterans, and Families; Housing Stability and Self-Sufficiency; and Prevention and Education;

WHEREAS, the Council and the Baker-Polito Administration believe that further work on immediate objectives and long-term strategies are required to produce sustainable change for those in Massachusetts affected by sexual assault and domestic violence; and

WHEREAS, it is critical that leaders and experts from the private and public sector regularly convene and collaborate to assess resources and policy options and to identify best practices for addressing sexual assault and domestic violence in order to make Massachusetts a safe home for all of its residents and the best place to live, work, and raise a family.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Charles D. Baker, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution, Part 2, c. 2, § I, Art. I, do hereby revoke Executive Order No. 563 and order as follows:

Section 1.  The Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence is hereby affirmed and reconstituted for the purpose of advising the Governor and Lieutenant Governor on how best to ensure that the residents of Massachusetts may live a life free from sexual assault and domestic violence and how to empower all individuals affected by sexual assault and domestic violence to move forward safely and with confidence to reach their full potential.

Section 2.  The Lieutenant Governor shall chair the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence (the “Council”).  The Secretaries of the Executive Offices of Health and Human Services, Public Safety and Security, Education, Labor and Workforce Development, Transportation, and Housing and Economic Development, or their designees, and the Secretary of Veterans’ Services, or his designee, shall all serve on the Council ex officio.  In addition, the Council shall include up to forty appointed (40) members of the public, which number shall include community leaders and experts and specialists drawn from advocacy organizations, direct service providers, and criminal justice agencies with expertise and involvement in issues relating to sexual assault and domestic violence.  The membership of the Council shall reflect the geographic and cultural diversity of the Commonwealth.  Each public member shall be appointed by the Governor and shall serve at his pleasure, in an advisory capacity and without compensation, for a term of two years.  Current members of the Council created pursuant to Executive Order 563 shall be re-appointed to the reconstituted Council and may serve full terms upon taking a new oath of office.

All Executive Offices and agencies within the executive department, upon request of the Chair, will provide subject matter expertise to the Council to assist it in accomplishing its priorities.

Section 3.  There shall be an Executive Director to the Council, who shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor with compensation.  The Executive Director shall support the work of the Council and may request that Executive Offices and their agencies supply data, reports, and other assistance. 

Section 4.  The Council shall establish strategic goals and objectives to support the mission of the Council and shall make recommendations to the Governor and Lieutenant Governor that will promote the well-being of all individuals, children, and families affected by sexual assault and domestic violence, prevention for all, and accountability for perpetrators.

           The Council shall identify up to five (5) priorities that shall serve as areas of focus for the Council’s work over the course of the next two years.  Such topics may include, for purposes of example only: (i) response and assessment; (ii) human trafficking; (iii) prevention and education; (iv) military, veterans, and families; and (v) housing stability and self-sufficiency.  Upon submission of the report required in Section 5 below, the Council shall promptly convene to select up to five (5) additional priorities to serve as areas of focus for the following two-year period.

Section 5.  The Council shall meet not less than every two months and as often as the Chair directs.  The Council shall submit a written report every two years to the Governor that shall summarize the Council’s work, methodology, findings, and recommendations on each of its priorities.  The report shall propose metrics, where feasible, to measure the effectiveness that its recommendations may have when implemented on improving outcomes for individuals, children, and families residing in Massachusetts who have been affected by sexual assault and domestic violence.

Section 6.  The Chair may establish subcommittees as needed, which may be comprised of members of the Council and non-members drawn from groups and organizations committed to addressing issues relating to sexual abuse and domestic violence who possess expertise useful to the work of the Council.  All subcommittees shall be chaired by a member of the Council designated by the Chair.  Subcommittees shall meet from time to time, as scheduled by the Chair or the Chair’s designee. 

Section 7.  This Executive Order shall take effect upon execution and shall continue in effect until amended, superseded or revoked by subsequent Executive Order.

Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston this tenth day of April in the year of our Lord two thousand nineteen and of the Independence of the United States of America two hundred forty-three.

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