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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 33: Domestic violence and sexual violence training program for district attorneys and assistant district attorneys

[Text of section added by 2014, 260, Sec. 5 effective July 1, 2015. See 2014, 260, Sec. 50.]

Section 33. The Massachusetts District Attorneys' Association shall provide training on the issue of domestic violence and sexual violence in the commonwealth, at least once biannually, to all district attorneys and assistant district attorneys. Such training shall include, but not be limited to, the dissemination of information concerning:

(1) misdemeanor and felony offenses in which domestic violence and sexual violence are often involved;

(2) the civil rights and remedies available to victims of domestic violence and sexual violence;

(3) methods for assessing the degree of risk of homicide involved in situations of domestic violence including, but not limited to, gathering information from the victim regarding the suspect's past reported and non-reported behavior and dangerousness, such as: (i) whether the suspect has ever used a weapon against the victim or threatened the victim with a weapon; (ii) whether the suspect owns a gun; (iii) whether the suspect's physical violence against the victim has increased in severity or frequency; (iv) whether the suspect has threatened to kill the victim; (v) whether the suspect has ever threatened or attempted suicide; (vi) whether the suspect has used or threatened physical violence against the victim's family, other household members or pets; (vii) whether the suspect uses illegal drugs; (viii) whether the suspect abuses alcohol; and (ix) whether there have been specific instances of strangulation or suffocation of the victim by the suspect;

(4) law enforcement techniques, information sharing and methods of promoting cooperation among different areas of law enforcement in combating domestic violence and sexual violence, including the importance of keeping victims informed as to the whereabouts of suspected abusers and other such information helpful for victim safety planning;

(5) the physiological and psychological effects of the pattern of domestic violence and sexual violence on its victims, including children who witness such abuse;

(6) the increased vulnerability of victims who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, low-income, minority or immigrant, and including training on ways in which the indicators of dangerousness in these communities may be different from those in non-marginalized communities;

(7) the dynamics of coercive controlling behavior that increases dangerousness even when such patterns of behavior are not themselves violent;

(8) the underlying psychological and sociological causes of domestic violence and sexual violence and the availability of batterer's intervention programs;

(9) the availability of community based domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault shelter and support services within the commonwealth, including, to the extent practicable, specific shelter and support services available in a district attorney's district; and

(10) techniques for increasing cooperation and immediate data sharing among different areas of law enforcement and the court system in combating domestic violence and sexual violence.

The Massachusetts District Attorneys' Association may appoint such expert, clerical and other staff members as the operation of the training program may require. As appropriate, the training presenters shall include domestic violence and sexual violence experts with expertise in the delivery of direct services to victims of domestic violence and sexual violence, including utilizing community based domestic violence, rape and sexual assault service providers and survivors of domestic violence, rape or sexual assault in the presentation of the training.