Massachusetts lawmakers consider increasing penalties for child abusers

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (WWLP) – The Massachusetts legislature is considering several bills this session that aim to protect children from abuse at home.

When COVID-19 hit the Commonwealth, we were all asked to stay home to prevent the spread of the virus, but for some kids, home was the most dangerous place they could be. During a virtual hearing Wednesday, members of the joint committee on children and families heard directly from survivors of physical and sexual abuse.

Many of the people who testified were abused as kids and now they’re turning their pain into advocacy to prevent another generation of children from having to endure physical or sexual abuse. Three separate bills have been filed on this issue. They all aim to expand reporting requirements at DCF so that workers there can catch signs of abuse early on.

The legislation also aims to increase penalties for anyone caught abusing a minor especially minors with a disability. A statistic that kept coming up during the hearing was that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men have experienced physical or sexual abuse.

With a cause that’s so important to so many people, supporters are hoping to see lawmakers get this passed very soon.

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