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NEW: Patrick Signs Bill to Protect Sexaul Assault and Domestic Violence Victims

Thursday, January 03, 2013

 

Governor Patrick signs “An Act Relative To Housing Rights for Victims of Domestic Violence, Rape, Sexual Assault and Stalking” in the Governor’s Council Chambers. (Photo credit: Eric Haynes / Governor’s Office)

Governor Deval Patrick was joined by the Lieutenant Governor and housing, public safety and community advocates on Thursday for the signing of a new bill that will provide protections and housing rights for sexual assault, domestic violence, rape and stalking victims.

The bill, entitled “An Act Relative To Housing Rights for Victims of Domestic Violence, Rape, Sexual Assault and Stalking," protects victims from landlords who attempt to evict them because they were a victim of such a crime and creates a provision for documented victims to break their leases to move away from their assailant without any financial penalty. It also allows for victims to have their locks changed after they are subject to such a crime.

“We must do all we can to protect victims of sexual and domestic violence,” said Patrick. “I thank the Legislature and the many caring advocates for giving us additional tools to do so.”

Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, who chairs both the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual and Domestic Violence and the Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness, said the legislature's partnering with community-based advocates enabled the state to improve the safety of victims and open doors for those needing to change their situation to improve their own safety without penalty.

“We thank the legislature and the Governor for passage of this bill,” said Mary Lauby, executive director of Jane Doe Inc. “Inadequate and unsafe housing options contribute to the economic instability that some victims face. This law removes obstacles as it creates new options for rape victims and victims of domestic violence who may need and want such protection.”

 

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