BOSTON, Mass. /Massachusetts Newswire/ — This past week (April 10), Mass. Governor Charlie Baker signed an Executive Order Reaffirming and Reconstituting the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. Lt. Governor Karyn Polito announced the Executive Order and the 2019 Action Plan at a meeting of the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Governor Charlie Baker
“I thank the Council and Lt. Governor Polito for their dedication to continue working together to end domestic violence and sexual assault here in the Commonwealth,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “I am confident that the addition of the Transportation and Veterans’ Services secretariats will bring valuable voices to the conversation surrounding both prevention and assisting survivors.”

“I am proud of the progress the Council has made over the last four years, from providing law enforcement with important tools, to the kickoff of our Public Awareness Campaign that will educate the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “I am pleased to announce our 2019-2020 Action Plan and look forward to working with my colleagues on the Council to keep all residents of Massachusetts safe.”

This new Executive Order builds upon the Council’s accomplishments of the last four years and will serve as the roadmap of the Council for the second term of the Baker-Polito Administration with several structural and procedural changes to more effectively support the Council’s mission.

  • Establishes the Secretary of Transportation as a member of the Council to serve as a resource with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to aide in the Commonwealth’s human trafficking efforts.
  • Establishes the Secretary of Veterans’ Services as a member of the Council to lead on several new initiatives generated from the Veterans, Military, and Families subcommittee.
  • Increases membership to bring additional subject matter expertise to the Council and expands the Council’s regional representation.

The executive order identifies key priorities for the next two years. The Council will focus on assessment and response; human trafficking; prevention and education; military, veterans and families; housing stability; and self-sufficiency. A report will be submitted to the Governor at the end of each two-year cycle.

To read the executive order, click here.

Lt. Governor Polito also announced the Council’s 2019-2020 Action Plan which includes:

Public Awareness Campaign:

  • Small panel of experts to work with a vender to assist in developing acampaign; identify the audience and resources for support; & assist in monitoring the quality of the project

Response and Assessment:

  • Coordinate attendance for Regional Chief’s Meetings across Massachusetts to discuss DV Toolkit
  • Coordinate and establish distribution process of  guidelines/best practices for domestic violence high risk teams
  • Explore and identify opportunities to expand safety nets for victims and perpetrator accountability

Housing Stability and Self Sufficiency:

  • Explore and provide recommended safety nets for victims’ housing protections
  • Increase collaboration between SA/DV and shelter/housing systems and subsidized housing models to promote existing best practice solutions and expand housing options

Human Trafficking:

  • Continue to work towards expanding Child Sexual Exploitation training/policy/practice to DYS, DCF and DMH
  • Identify opportunities for increased collaboration between the High Risk Victims Unit (HRVU) of the Massachusetts State Police and District Attorney’s Offices
  • Research the strategies/best practices associated with the identification, safe recovery and ongoing supports of child victims

Prevention and Education:

  • Complete “Skills Chart” across educational sectors and identify opportunities for adoption and implementation
  • Identify opportunities to support launch and sustainability of consistent messaging for the Statewide Public Awareness Campaign

Veteran/Military Families:

  • Collaborate with OVC TTAC in creating best practice  military-civilian SA/DV Tools
  • Explore and identify opportunities to expand Military & Civilian response training/ policy/ practice to DPH, DCF, and Veteran Services

Governor Baker signed Executive Order 563 on April 27, 2015, which re-launched the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence and elevated the Council to the Governor’s Office. Over the last four years, with Lt. Governor Karyn Polito as Chair, the Council has successfully worked to support effective implementation of key provisions of Chapter 260: An Act Relative to Domestic Violence and 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.