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March 05, 2024 Mist | 39°F
The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 4: Victim and witness assistance board

Section 4. There shall be a victim and witness assistance board consisting of 7 members who shall serve without compensation. Notwithstanding any provision of section 6 of chapter 268A to the contrary, the board shall consist of the attorney general or a designee, who shall serve as chair, and 6 persons to be appointed by the governor, 2 of whom shall be district attorneys and 4 of whom shall be members of the public of whom 3 shall be victims of a crime and 1 shall represent a community disproportionately impacted by high rates of violence and crime or a population underserved due to racial or ethnic identity; provided, however, that the 3 members who are victims of a crime shall be selected from a list of not less than 5 nominations provided by the executive director of the Massachusetts office of victim assistance. For the purposes of this paragraph, ''members of the public'' shall not include any current local, state or federal elected officials. Members of the board shall be selected from diverse ethnicities, races, religions, ages, sexual orientations, gender identities, socio-economic status and geographical backgrounds from throughout the commonwealth. All members shall serve for terms of 3 years and until their successor is duly appointed and qualified; provided, however, that any person appointed to fill a vacancy shall serve only for the remainder of the unexpired term. Members of the board shall be eligible for reappointment.

The board shall by majority vote of its members, appoint an executive director who shall serve, subject to appropriation, at such rate of compensation as the board directs for a term of three years unless removed for cause by a vote of 6 members of the board. The executive director, subject to appropriation, shall have the power to hire such staff, subject to the approval of the board, as is needed to fulfill the powers and duties of the board. The executive director shall have such other powers and duties as the board may delegate to him.

The provisions of chapter thirty-one shall not apply to the executive director or any employee of the board.

The board shall review program plans, annual reports, and the implementation and operation of programs as described in this chapter. The board shall promulgate rules for the preparation and review of such program plans and annual reports.

In addition to the foregoing, the board shall:

(a) have printed and shall make available to social service agencies, medical facilities, and law enforcement agencies, cards, posters, brochures or other materials explaining the victim and witness rights and services established under this chapter;

(b) assist hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities, whether public or private, in disseminating information giving notice of the rights established under this chapter. This assistance may include providing informational materials including posters suitable to be displayed in emergency and waiting rooms;

(c) assist law enforcement agencies in familiarizing all of their officers and employees with the crime victims' rights as provided under this chapter. This assistance may include supplying informational literature on this subject to be utilized as part of the training curriculum for all trainee officers; and

(d) assist all local law enforcement agencies in establishing procedures whereby expedient notification is given to victims and witnesses, as defined under this chapter, of the rights provided under this chapter. In municipalities which do not have a local law enforcement agency, the board shall establish procedures whereby it, in cooperation with the state police, shall give notice to victims of crimes as provided in this section.

(e) assume the management and administration of the Garden of Peace, a public memorial garden located on the plaza of 100 Cambridge street in the city of Boston to honor victims of homicide, to receive gifts or grants of money or property to assist the board in the maintenance and operation of the memorial and to establish an advisory committee which shall consist of individuals who have served on the board of directors of the Garden of Peace or other interested citizens appointed by the victim witness assistance board to provide ongoing advice to the board.