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Survivors, providers, elected officials, and allies at the State House in support of H.742 

At a hearing before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary last week, survivors and supporters made a powerful push for H.742 "An Act Amending Victim Compensation Statute." This legislation would shift the current state statute regulating Victim Compensation so that that the circumstances of a loved one's homicide cannot be used to determine a family's eligibility for funeral and burial reimbursement.

Supporters of H.742 gave moving testimony about the need to treat survivors of homicide victims with dignity and compassion, regardless of the circumstances. More than 40 organizations signed a coalition letter of support for H.742. 
 

Thank you so much to everyone who came to the State House and all of you who took action to support H.742!
 
We invite you to call your State Legislator and State Representative if you haven't already. Please encourage them to actively support this critical legislation and thank them if they're in favor if H.742. We will keep you posted on H.742 as the legislative session progresses.
 
Read some excerpts of testimony given at the hearing:
 
"Not only was the scrutinizing of my husband's history demeaning to his character at his time of death, but also very antagonistic to me, mentally and emotionally for me to go through at the most terrifying, vulnerable point in my life. 

And one year later I have not heard one word back from Victim Comp since the initial letter stating my application was being processed and what my case number was. I'm left feeling defeated and unworthy of receiving the funds that we deserve as a family surviving such a horrible tragedy."  - Ebony, Survivor

"The impact that it had on my family was horrible. My family and I had to stand on the corner with a bucket in front of the Boston Police Headquarters to ask for dollars to bury my son. I had to literally beg for money to bury my child after he was shot and killed by several Boston police officers. This issue is important to me because the state is responsible for my heartache and then in the same breath they denied my family any funds for proper burial for my son." - Carla, Survivor

"I help families fill out the Victim Compensation application for funeral and burial reimbursement funds. I have to be the one to tell them that they may be denied because of a clause in the state statute that requires a family's claim be reduced or denied in the event their loved one "contributed to" their own death. Imagine the look I receive from a mother whose son was just murdered. This mom feels punished and ashamed: ashamed she doesn't have the money and punished for losing her son and not being able to receive the support she needs to lay her son to rest with dignity and compassion." - Danielle, Survivors Outreach Services Advocate

"I am a mother. And I was deeply saddened to learn that our legislature has allowed mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children - to be utterly disrespected and made to feel like second-class citizens as they work through immense tragedy.  Can anyone explain why it makes sense to make a family that has suffered such loss, endure the indignity of not only having to prove that they need financial assistance laying their loved ones to rest, but then to prove that their loved one didn't deserve to be murdered? I sincerely cannot wrap my mind around it." 
- Ashley, supporter

 

H.742 was filed by Representative Evandro Carvalho. We appreciate the Representative's courage for taking ownership of this critical issue. The Peace Institute is grateful for the leadership of Mayor Martin Walsh, District Attorney Dan Conley, and Boston Police Commissioner William Evans who actively support H.742.

"Providing all families of homicide victims with some modest assistance to bury their loved ones with dignity is an act of compassion and support for grieving families and reduces pain and trauma for many in the community as well."
- District Attorney Dan Conley

"All families should be provided with some monetary assistance, regardless of the circumstances surrounding their loved one's death. With the passage of this legislation to allow for a proper funeral and burial, we can help families and our communities begin the healing process."- Boston Police Commissioner William Evans
 

The Boston City Council unanimously passed a resolution in support of H.742. Thank you so much Councilors for your compassion and commitment!