Press Release

Press Release Survivors of Violent Crimes Call for Passage of Baker-Polito Legislation

Survivor Stories Continue to Highlight Need for Public Safety Proposals
For immediate release:
3/02/2022
  • Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito
  • Governor's Press Office
  • Executive Office of Public Safety and Security
  • Governor's Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

Media Contact for Survivors of Violent Crimes Call for Passage of Baker-Polito Legislation

Terry MacCormack, Press Secretary, Governor's Office

SPRINGFIELDGovernor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito today joined survivors, domestic violence providers and law enforcement officials in Springfield for a roundtable event highlighting the importance of the Administration’s legislation which would create comprehensive new protections for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, assault and battery, and other crimes. The roundtable was moderated by Liz Dineen, the Executive Director of the YWCA of Western Massachusetts, a Springfield-based domestic violence provider, and also included Public Safety and Security Secretary Terrence Reidy and Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood. Watch today’s roundtable event here.

The event was part of the Administration’s continued efforts to work with the survivor community to demonstrate the importance of this critical public safety legislation which would improve protections for survivors and the public. In December, the Administration announced the filing of the legislation at a similar roundtable event in Plymouth, and in January, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito testified on the legislation before the Legislature’s Joint Committee on the Judiciary alongside survivors whose stories speak to the importance of the legislation. Last week, the legislative package was endorsed by the Massachusetts Office for Victims Assistance (MOVA), an independent state agency that supports victims of crime in the Commonwealth.

“Today’s roundtable event continues our work in partnership with the survivor community to highlight the real-world stories that demonstrate the importance of this critical legislation, and we are grateful for the brave survivors who shared their stories today,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Our dangerousness proposal would fill critical gaps in the way our criminal justice system currently deals with dangerous individuals so we can better protect survivors and members of the public. We look forward to working with our legislative colleagues to make these critical changes so we can keep our communities and families safe.”

“As we continue to advocate for this important public safety legislation, we remain committed to putting survivors’ stories front and center, to help everyone understand how important these reforms are,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Chair of the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. The survivors who joined our roundtable today are demonstrating inspiring courage, and we are grateful to them for their willingness to share their stories.”

“The circumstances of every survivor’s story are different yet similar in their shared experience of living in unrelenting fear. Sadly, many survivors share another similarity – a disheartening encounter with a system that lacked the tools necessary to protect them in their time of greatest need,” said Public Safety and Security Secretary Terrence Reidy. “These bills will close loopholes and strengthen protections for some of our most vulnerable citizens. We owe it to countless survivors to make these commonsense reforms.” 

“Any legislator who cares about protecting victims of crime must vote for this bill,” said Liz Dineen, Executive Director of the YWCA of Western Massachusetts and moderator of today’s roundtable event. 

An Act to Protect Victims of Crimes and the Public: First filed in 2018, the Administration’s proposal would expand the list of offenses that can provide grounds for a dangerousness hearing and close certain loopholes at the start and end of the criminal process that currently limit or prevent effective action to address legitimate safety concerns. It would strengthen the ability of judges to enforce the conditions of pre-trial release by empowering police to detain people who they observe violating court-ordered release conditions; current law does not allow this, and instead requires a court to first issue a warrant. Under this proposal, judges will be empowered to revoke a person’s release when the offender has violated a court-ordered condition, such as an order to stay away from a victim, or from a public playground. Current law requires an additional finding of dangerousness before release may be revoked.

The legislation also expands the list of offenses which can provide grounds for a dangerousness hearing including crimes of sexual abuse and crimes of threatened or potential violence. It also follows the long-standing federal model in including a defendant’s history of serious criminal convictions as grounds that may warrant a dangerousness hearing. Current law requires courts to focus only on the crime charged and ignore a defendant’s criminal history when determining whether the defendant may be the subject of this sort of hearing.

An Act Relative to the Harmful Distribution of Sexually Explicit Visual Materials: First filed in 2017, this legislation seeks to close a loophole under current law by creating penalties for adults who distribute a sexually explicit image for purposes of revenge or embarrassment. While current law addresses non-consensual recording of an unsuspecting person, it does not address instances where someone distributes an image without consent regardless of whether the initial image may have been taken with consent. This legislation closes the gap in state law by creating a new felony offense and empowering judges in criminal proceedings to ensure an explicit image in question is permanently destroyed. 

Learn more about the legislation.

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Media Contact for Survivors of Violent Crimes Call for Passage of Baker-Polito Legislation

Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito 

Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and the Baker-Polito Administration are committed to serving the people of Massachusetts and making the Commonwealth a great place to live, work and raise a family.

Governor's Press Office 

Visit the Governor’s Press Office to learn about recent news from the administration, follow our happenings on social media, and for media contact information.

Executive Office of Public Safety and Security 

EOPSS is responsible for the policy development and budgetary oversight of its secretariat agencies, independent programs, and several boards which aid in crime prevention, homeland security preparedness, and ensuring the safety of residents and visitors in the Commonwealth.

Governor's Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence 

The mission of the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence is to advise the Governor on how to help individuals, children, and families of the Commonwealth live a life free of sexual assault and domestic violence.
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