Advocacy groups urge lawmakers to take action on domestic violence

Nearly one in three women and one in five men have experienced domestic violence in Massachusetts

BOSTON (WWLP)—Nearly one in three women and one in five men have experienced some form of domestic violence in Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators and the Public Health Committee held an “informational” hearing on the issue at the State House Monday. Lawmakers heard from advocates, officials and survivors on the impacts of domestic violence on Massachusetts communities and how the state can better address the issue in the future.

Executive Director Janis Broderick of the Elizabeth Freeman Center in Berkshire County said people in rural counties experience higher rates of domestic violence.

“No one to hear your cries and no where to run when your closest neighbor may be miles away-all these conditions and more discourage or prevent access to help,” Broderick said.

Domestic violence comes in many forms, including physical, sexual, emotional and even financial abuse.

Advocates said getting help can be difficult for survivors who don’t have transportation or a safe place to stay. They want the state to increase funding.

“For the many, that means leaving their current family and friends behind so they can find safety; for others, it means leaving their only means of income, a job, in order to remain safe,” Linda Cavaioli, Executive Director of YWCA of Central Massachusetts said.

“By you keeping quite, nobody’s not going to know,” domestic violence survivor Trinity White said. “But as soon as I felt comfortable with myself and talking to somebody about my situation, I actually got the help that I needed, rather than just being isolated. I could have been somewhere other than here today.”

Lawmakers are considering taking legislative action based on testimony from the hearing.