Advocacy on Bullying


Bullying attacks our dignity.

Pamela Goodwin, one of our most dedicated activists, and I have been participating in the work of the Dignity Alliance (DAM). Their major focus has been on frail elders and disabled persons living in nursing homes and other institutional settings, and those living independently in the community. Their scope of interest includes a concern for the dignity of our target population of people with disability and elderly persons living in public and subsidized housing. We are proud to join in their important efforts, and gratified that individual members voted to endorse our bullying legislation, S.900, An Act to prevent and respond to bullying of elderly and disabled residents and S.1084 An Act relative to bullying in public housing.

Dignity Alliance Massachusetts, a grass-roots coalition of aging and disability service and advocacy organizations and supporters, is dedicated to secure fundamental changes in the provision of long-term services, support, and care.—DAM

Senator Joan B. Lovely reports on bullying bills

Let's prepare for hearings on our bullying bills.

Senator Joan B. Lovely has been our strongest partner and supporter on Beacon Hill in our continuing efforts to pass legislation that will prevent bullying and provide each of us with protection from assaults on our dignity and our rights in our homes.

Lovely recently presented an excellent overview of current housing issues at Bending the Arc Toward Housing Equity, a forum organized by the Massachusetts Human Rights Coalition. Senator Lovely spoke about her role as a legislator and her advocacy on housing and bullying, and noted a number of bills and committees dealing with these issues. Her statement reviews her two bills on bullying that we support.

S.1084 An Act relative to bullying in public housing would establish a statewide tenant protective services ombuds program for elderly and disabled tenants in public and subsidized housing. This legislation would assure protection from bullying and create accountability for landlords. S.1084 will implement and extend the principle stated by the Attorney General—it is unlawful to prevent others from enjoying their rights as citizens and tenants. This is an essential prerequisite and companion to S.900, An Act to prevent and respond to bullying of elderly and disabled residents, by Lovely and H.1407 by Representative Kevin Honan.

S900 is before the Joint Committee on Housing. S1084, the ombuds bill, is before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. Neither has been scheduled for a hearing yet.

It is extremely important that we show up and testify at the hearings for these bills. The hearings are likely to be online, so we can take part without the expense of travel to Beacon Hill. I suggest we each write a short statement that is ready for testimony. I will reach out to you when the hearings are scheduled.

Your statement must be under 3 minutes. Time yourself as you practice reading it aloud. Tell your personal experience and what you have observed, and any efforts or ideas to solve the problem. Speak in the way that you feel will connect with legislators, who are seeking to understand and remedy problems. You can also submit written testimony.

For more background and resources,  or contact me.


Bullying among children in housing

We have been asked to provide ideas for how to manage bullying among children living in public or subsidized housing. Do you have experience or ideas about what does or does not work? What about existing agencies or laws? What is needed to improve the system?

Please write to me with your story and I will share that with the people facing the problem and/or in a report here. Your identity will be protected.