Governor Baker Joins Roundtable on Domestic Violence

Governor Charlie Baker and members of his administration at a roundtable discussion at the University of Massachusetts Law School

HYANNIS – Governor Charlie Baker and members of his administration as well as lawmakers, advocates, and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault recently convened in a roundtable to discuss recently filed legislation.

A refiled public safety proposal would add protections for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, the harmful distribution of explicit images, and other crimes.

The roundtable took place at the University of Massachusetts Law School and was the fifth of its kind since the dual pieces of legislation, titled “An Act to Protect Victims of Crimes and the Public” and “An Act Relative to the Harmful Distribution of Sexually Explicit Visual Materials” were refiled last December.

“An Act to Protect Victims of Crimes and the Public” would expand the list of offenses which can provide grounds for a dangerousness hearing and close loopholes which can prevent action to address legitimate safety concerns.

The bill would also allow judges and police to enforce the conditions of pre-trial release by authorizing them to detain those who violate court ordered release conditions.

It would also update state models to follow the federal practice of being able to include a defendant’s past criminal convictions as possible grounds for a dangerousness hearing.

The second act would create penalties for those who distribute a sexually explicit image for purposes of revenge or embarrassment and allow judges to ensure such images are destroyed.

Previously existing laws penalize non-consensual recordings of unsuspecting individuals but do not address instances where an image originally taken with consent is later distributed without consent.

“As public officials, offering survivors – including children – basic rights and protections so that they feel safe and supported throughout the legal process should be our top priority,” said Baker.

“The current system is failing survivors and their families, and it is imperative that we deliver these commonsense measures on their behalf.”

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By, Matthew Tomlinson, NewsCenter

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