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Massachusetts


State Overview - State Summary - State Projects
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State Overview

Domestic Violence Legislation:Yes (209A,1)
NIBRS Status:Certified
Additional Elements:Yes
Law Enforcement DV System:Incident-based
Service Provider DV System:Summary
Service Provider SA System:Summary


State Summary

The Commonwealth does have domestic violence legislation that includes same-sex relationships. Even though no separate statewide domestic violence or sexual assault law enforcement data collection system exists, 260 agencies currently report NIBRS data to the Crime Reporting Unit of the Massachusetts State Police. The State Police has added additional fields to what is required by NIBRS, including: offender tracking number, adding law enforcement officer as a victim and additional details, latitude and longitude of the incident location, address, city, and an additional location field that specifies additional offense characteristics. All of these additions are outlined in the pdf document state manual. Law enforcement agencies that are not submitting incident-based data do not provide additional domestic violence or sexual assault characteristics.

Jane Doe, which functions as the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, collects summary data from domestic violence and sexual assault service providers. The organization surveyed all of its member organizations in 2001; the information collected resulted in a report outlining the delivery of services. All of the information is provided on the Jane Doe Web site. Jane Doe staff also chair the Governor's Commission on Sexual and Domestic Violence Data Analysis Committee, which conducts research on domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse data collection systems in the state. In addition, the agency's Intimate Partner Homicide Program tracks deaths resulting from domestic violence as researched through the media and Internet. Information is entered into a database and profiles are presented on its Web site.

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety collects sexual assault data from medical facilities and Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs). The Provider Sexual Crime Report (PSCR) is a data collection instrument that was created to help explain the volume and characteristics of rape and sexual assault in the state. Medical providers are required by law to fill out a PSCR for every sexual assault and rape in which the victim sought medical treatment. The PSCR provides detailed data on sexual crimes that commonly go unreported to police and as a result are not recorded or tracked in official statistics. The Office has also created the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Advisory Committee, composed of a multidisciplinary group of professionals from prosecution, law enforcement, public health, sexual assault and domestic violence communities, and judiciary and social service agencies. The Committee is charged with providing the Executive Office of Public Safety with expertise, guidance, and recommendations in the development of a statewide implementation plan and in the identification of need in the areas of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has a number of programs involved in domestic and sexual violence. The Bureau of Family and Community Health's Violence Prevention and Intervention Services collects summary information from agencies that receive funding. Agencies submit different information depending on the services they provide. The programs offered by the unit include:

  • Batterer Intervention Program Services, which certifies agencies to provide services. Data are collected from the 22 certified programs in the state;


  • Collaborative Abuse Prevention in Racial and Ethnic Minority (CARE) Communities, which creates networks of service agencies to provide sexual assault and domestic violence intervention, outreach, and community education within particular racial and ethnic communities;


  • Gay Men's Domestic Violence Prevention, which funds outreach to gay, bisexual, and transgender male victims of domestic violence;


  • Massachusetts Rural Domestic Violence and Child Victimization Project, which funds three battered women's programs in rural areas of Western Massachusetts and strives to educate the public and professionals in that area about domestic violence;


  • Refugee and Immigrant Safety and Empowerment (RISE) Program, which funds 16 community-based programs across the state to provide particular ethnic communities with education and outreach services related to violence against women;


  • Research and Evaluation, which tracks the incidence and prevalence of domestic violence and sexual assault in the Commonwealth;


  • Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program, which trains, certifies, and supports specially trained registered nurses and physicians to provide care and forensic evidence collection to sexual assault victims entering designated emergency departments. Nurse examiners complete incident-based forms on each client seen;


  • Sexual Assault Prevention and Survivor Services (SAPSS), which supports statewide and regional training, educational materials, data reports, and collaborations to reduce sexual assaults and support survivors. Rape Crisis Centers funded through this program provide community and professional education on sexual assault prevention and intervention, as well as free direct services to survivors, their families, and friends. This program collects summary data from the centers and the Spanish hotline, LLamanos. These data are used for program evaluation and reports.


The Center for Health Information, Statistics, Research and Evaluation, also in the Department of Public Health, maintains three data collection systems in the state:
  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which randomly surveys adults on a variety of health and risk factors, including sexual and domestic violence;


  • Injury Surveillance System, which monitors various data sources in the state to analyze incidence, trends, risk factors and circumstances of injuries and disseminates this information to injury prevention advocates. Although sexual abuse information is collected, no information on the offender is collected and so domestic abuse cannot be identified. The data sources include:
    • Vital Records Database
    • Hospital Discharge Database
    • Outpatient Observation Database
    • Emergency Department Injury Surveillance System
    • Weapon-Related Injury Surveillance System
    • Medical Examiner Database
    • Supplemental Homicide Reports
    • Youth Risk Behavior Survey
    • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
    • Fatality Analysis Reporting System
    • Emergency Department Database
  • Weapon-Related Injury Surveillance System, a component of the Injury Surveillance System, which monitors gunshot and stabbing injuries from hospital and health care center annual reports.


The Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance collects domestic violence data through two programs:

  • Family Violence Homicide Record gathers domestic violence homicide information from various media sources. Staff peruse newspaper articles and conduct Internet searches and create narrative accounts of incidents. The information will eventually be included in a domestic violence database.


  • Safety Assistance for Every Person Leaving Abuse Now (SAFEPLAN) is a court-based advocacy program that awards federal and state money to programs providing court-based advocacy. SAFEPLAN programs exist in 41 courts in 9 counties across the state. Court staff complete client intake forms, which are entered into the Office for Victims Assistance database.
The Office includes all statistics in its annual report and for internal analysis. Individual court statistics are published in the Program Funding Directory.

The Massachusetts Department of Social Services is in the process of developing a new data collection system for basic information regarding the utilization of shelter and community-based services. Monthly reports of client demographics will be collected from service providers beginning in 2007. With funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Massachusetts Department of Education's Youth Risk Behavior Survey includes questions on dating violence. Conducted every other year, results are published and available on the Department of Education's Web site.

The Massachusetts Probate and Family Court Department collects information on emergency domestic violence restraining orders issued after court hours through the Judicial Response System. Each participating judge submits a log to the Administrative Office of the court that includes information on each case. These logs are entered into a case management system, which is used to tract domestic abuse complaints. The information is published in annual and quarterly reports. The District Court Department also tracks the number of abuse protection orders filed in every district. Currently, 62 courts submit monthly reports of summary counts of the cases filed and disposed for every case type. An automated system is being developed and will be implemented in 2007. This system will link restraining order registration with the case file.


State Projects

  • Provider Sexual Crime Report
    The Provider Sexual Crime Report (PSCR) is a data collection instrument that was created to help understand the volume and characteristics of rape and sexual assault in Massachusetts. Medical providers in Massachusetts are required by law to fill out a PSCR for every sexual assault and rape where the victim sought medical treatment. The PSCR provides detailed data on sexual crimes that commonly go unreported to police and as a result are not recorded or tracked in official statistics. The Research and Policy Analysis Unit of the Executive Office of Public Safety analyzes PSCR data to construct a detailed picture of sexual assaults and rapes in Massachusetts where the victim sought medical treatment.


  • Homeless Prevention Initiative
    Although the focus is not directly on domestic violence, the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies' Center for Social Policy is evaluating the Homeless Prevention Initiative (HPI), a collaborative project involving five foundations that pooled $3 million in resources for the implementation of homeless prevention services, which are carried out by 18 Massachusetts nonprofit organizations over a three-year period. The CSP evaluation team is currently at a mid-point in the three-year evaluation, and using both quantitative and qualitative data collection approaches, aims to generate cross-site process and outcome information that will have relevance for state policymaking. More recently, CSP has been contracted to evaluate several other homeless prevention projects, including the state's RAFT program. Using multi-method and cross-site/cross-project analytical approaches, products from the multiple evaluations are designed to be used widely by practitioner, policy, advocacy, philanthropic and other mainstream audiences.


  • President's Family Justice Center Initiative
    The PFJCI is a pilot program administered by the Office on Violence Against Women that has awarded more than $20 million to 15 communities across the country for the planning, development, and establishment of comprehensive domestic violence victim service and support centers. The goal of the PFJCI is to make a victim's search for help and justice more efficient and effective by bringing professionals who provide an array of services together under one roof. One of the first centers, the Family Justice Center of Boston opened in 2005.



  • Available Reports

    General Crime

    Domestic Violence

    Sexual Assault

    Violence Against Women


    Sample Data Collection Forms

    The Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety Statistical Analysis Center collects sexual assault information using this form:

    The Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety Programs Division collects summary statistics from Violence Against Women Act grantees using this form:

    The Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety Programs Division also collects the form required by the US Department of Justice Office of Violence Against Women:

    The Massachusetts Department of Public Health collects these forms from certified batterer intervention programs:

    The Massachusetts Department of Public Health collects this form from rape crisis centers, completed for each victim:

    The Massachusetts Department of Public Health collects this form from service providers, completed for each victim:

    The Massachusetts Probate and Family Court Department collects this form from local family courts, outlining the complaint and the action taken:

    The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) complete 2 forms for the Department of Health; an incident form and a beeper log:

    The Office of the Attorney General collects information on victims applying for compensation using this form:


    Available Data

    General Crime

    Domestic Violence

    Sexual Assault


    Links to State Agencies and Resources