Massachusetts Law about Domestic Violence

Massachusetts Law Updates 2014-09-16

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on September 13, 1994. In the intervening twenty years since the Act became law, federal crime statisticsreveal that the overall rate of intimate partner violence in the United States has declined by nearly two thirds. The Bureau of Justice Statistics collects data on nonfatal crimes reported and not reported to the police from a nationally representative sample of U.S. households. While these statistics might point to the efficacy of the law, the problem has not gone away.

Recently, domestic violence has been in the news because of the release of a video showing Ray Rice, former running back for the Ravens, assaulting his fiancée in an elevator. A national debate on the subject of intimate partner violence has ensued. David Kocieniewski has made an attempt to put the case in perspective regarding how the criminal justice system treats the crime in his New York Times article, “Ray Rice Case Draws Attention to a Crime Often Obscured.”

The Mass. Trial Court Law Libraries webpage, “MassachusettsLaw About Domestic Violence” is a rich source of links to both information about the law itself and help for victims and survivors of domestic violence.