Executive Order

Executive Order  No. 611: Establishing the Governor's Council to Address Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, and Human Trafficking

Date: 04/12/2023
Issuer: Maura Healey
Mass Register: No. 1494
Revoking and Superseding: Executive Order No. 586

Table of Contents

WHEREAS, the Healey-Driscoll Administration prioritizes continuing to help individuals, children, and families to live lives free from sexual assault and domestic violence;

WHEREAS, it is also a priority of the Healey-Driscoll Administration to combat human trafficking;

WHEREAS, statistics show that sexual violence is common, with the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finding that over half of women and almost 1 in 3 men have experienced sexual violence involving physical contact during their lifetimes;

WHEREAS, on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, which equates to more than 10 million women and men;

WHEREAS, in 2021, 10,359 instances of human trafficking were reported to the United States National Human Trafficking Hotline involving 16,554 individual victims;

WHEREAS, research shows that 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, domestic violence, and exploitation in the Commonwealth;

WHEREAS, the Healey-Driscoll Administration recognizes the importance of the work performed by the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence under Executive Orders 563 and 586, and commends its membership on their accomplishments in the fight to combat sexual assault and domestic violence in the Commonwealth;

WHEREAS, the Healey-Driscoll Administration and the Council 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, domestic violence, and human trafficking; 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, domestic violence, and human trafficking 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, Maura T. Healey, 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. 586 and order as follows:

Section 1.  The Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, and Human Trafficking is hereby established 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, how best to combat human trafficking, and how to empower all individuals affected 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, Domestic Violence, and Human Trafficking (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, Veteran’s Services, or their designees, and the Secretaries of other Executive Offices, as deemed appropriate by the Governor, or their designees, shall all serve on the Council ex officio.  In addition, the Council shall include appointed members of the public, which appointees 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, domestic violence, and human trafficking.  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 her pleasure, in an advisory capacity and without compensation, for a term of two years.  

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, including by supporting areas of need identified by the Chair or by serving as a co-chair of a subcommittee of the Council.

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, domestic violence, and human trafficking, prevention for all, and accountability for perpetrators.

The Council shall identify priorities that shall serve as areas of focus for the Council’s work.  Such topics may include, for purposes of example only: (i) assessment and response; (ii) human trafficking; (iii) early interventions; (iv) military, veterans, and families; (v) housing stability; and (vi) economic mobility.  The Council shall periodically review, no less often than once every two years, and may reaffirm or reconfigure the priorities identified for its work.

Section 5.  The Council shall meet not less than six times each year 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, domestic violence, and human trafficking.

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, domestic violence, and human trafficking 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.

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