MAHSD is joining the Every Voice Coalition in supporting, H.599/S.340 and H.3294/S.817, as part of a campaign to end sexual violence in higher education institutions in Massachusetts.

About the Every Voice Coalition

The Every Voice Coalition is a statewide movement comprised of survivors, students, allies, and alumni seeking to end sexual assault in Massachusetts. MAHSD is joining the Every Voice coalition in supporting legislation to combat the silent crisis of sexual assault on college campuses.

H.599/S.340, (An Act requiring sexual misconduct climate surveys at institutions of higher education) would take a critical first step in the Commonwealth’s response to this problem in two steps. First, it would create a task force comprised of stakeholders from government, higher education and advocacy groups, who would be tasked with employing best practices to craft a climate survey to be used on all campuses. Second, it would mandate that all of our colleges and universities use either the model survey or a survey that has been pre-approved by the Higher Education Commissioner and return their findings to the task force, which would then create a report on sexual assault on Massachusetts’ campuses.
With that data, policymakers will identify trends and craft policy responses to solve problems. For example, rural college students may point to a lack of easily accessible rape crisis centers, while other campuses may display a lack of understanding of techniques such as bystander intervention.

H.3294/S.817 (An act relative to sexual violence on higher campuses) strengthens campus policy against sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking by requiring all institutions of higher education to create and communicate policy on sexual and gender-based violence.
Secondly, it helps raise awareness and improves prevention programming by mandating training for students, faculty and staff on all campuses. In addition, the bill requires institutions to establish and build on relationships with local rape crisis centers and domestic violence programs to develop survivor-led prevention programming on campuses.

Furthermore, this bill will improve access to resources for survivors by mandating institutions to notify survivors of rights and resources, including how to access support services and health care on and off-campus, how to access protective measures, and what the pathways of reporting are on campus and off. Lastly, the bill mandates that policies and resources with sexual violence data be made publicly available on campus websites. One of the most important aspects of the bill is the outline of how proceedings shall be conducted when an incident of
dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking is reported. Both the reporting party and responding party are given equal rights, notices, and opportunity for representation throughout the proceeding.

Take Action

Read this fact sheet for more information about H.599/S.340

Read about the Every Voice coalition here.

Sign up for the Every Voice Advocacy Summit. Every Voice has put aside 15 tickets for MAHSD members. More information is available on the linked Facebook page.

Check out this flyer for details about the Every Voice Advocacy Summit.

Every Voice has is holding one place in a meeting with Speaker DeLeo for a high school student. If you feel like you can speak in a compelling way about issues surrounding sexual assault, or you have a story to tell, contact Legislative Director Dan Bryan at dbryan@hsdems.org