Letter to the editor:
The final FY2020 Conference Committee report from the Massachusetts Legislature deserves high praise from victim advocates and all who care about the impact of sexual and domestic violence in the Commonwealth and shares JDI's belief that prevention is possible. New opportunities to enhance efforts that promote healthy relationships among youth lie ahead given that the proposed funding of $1million for the Healthy Youth Grant Program by the Legislature matches the Governor’s original request. We now look to Governor Baker to sign a budget that includes this critical funding, joining a select group of states throughout the nation that prioritize prevention, as well as funding for other essential services for survivors of gender-based violence.
JDI, on behalf of our 55 member organizations across Massachusetts, have been proud to advocate along with elected officials and community partners to advance this groundbreaking investment in prevention efforts. Complimentary to the FY2019 funding that supported the creation of the #RESPECTfully campaign, the significantly increased Healthy Youth Grant Program will allow robust collaboration between sexual and domestic violence programs and local communities and schools throughout Massachusetts to develop prevention programming that gets to the root of the problem. Supporting the development of healthy, respectful, and nonviolent relationships must be accompanied by efforts to improve school climates regarding equity and justice and seek out culturally specific solutions. This multi-layered approach has the potential to reduce the occurrence of teen dating and sexual violence and prevent its harmful and long-lasting effects on individuals, their families, and their communities.
In addition to the prevention funding, the Conference Committee budget includes $38 million in the Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Prevention and Treatment Services line item, the main source of state funding for community-based rape crisis centers and domestic violence programs and $5.5m for the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program. Together these funds support a network of services, resources, and initiatives that will literally save lives.
We thank the House, the Senate, and the Administration and we look forward to Governor Baker’s signature on a final state budget that funds these critical priorities."
Debra J. Robbin, Executive Director
Jane Doe, Inc.
JDI (also known as Jane Doe Inc., The Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence) is the only statewide membership and advocacy coalition in Massachusetts dedicated to addressing sexual and domestic violence. We aim to support survivors and end violence by promoting gender equity, racial justice, and safety for everyone. JDI’s mission is to complement and support the expertise and leadership of our community-based members with a statewide strategy involving public and private partners to tackle systemic issues that foster and perpetuate violence, to create policies and explore innovative solutions that improve the lives of survivors, and to prevent gender-based violence.