Family of murder victim pushes to extend domestic violence protections in MA law

WORCESTER, Mass. — The family of a woman murdered inside a Worcester restaurant is fighting for better protections for victims of domestic violence.

Amanda Dabrowski was murdered 7 months ago. The primary suspect in her murder is her ex-boyfriend and former co-worker, Carlos Asencio. Her family says Dabrowski survived the first attack by Asencio only to be fired from her job 48 hours later and completely without protection.

"Her life thereafter kind of went into a downward spiral," Amanda's father, Ed Dabrowski said.

Dabrowski was a contract worker and current law in Massachusetts doesn't provide the same protections for contract workers as full-time employees.

"Because they're not technically employed by that company -- they're technically employed by an outside temp agency -- they don't have the same protections," Rep. Jo McKenna (R-Webster) explained.

Her family wants to fix that loophole in the law.

"This is Massachusetts. We lead the nation on domestic violence and to have this loophole exist is just such a tragedy," Sen. Ryan Fattman (R-Worcester) said.

State lawmakers have drafted legislation in Dabrowski's name. It would change Massachusetts employment law to better protect contracted workers like Amanda so domestic violence victims can get time off from work for medical attention, counseling or other services.

Proposed legislation would provide 15 days of leave in any 12-month period if the contract worker is a victim of abusive behavior.

Amanda's parents Ed and Beth Dabrowksi are channeling their grief into a fight for change and raising awareness about resources for survivors, like Abby's House in Worcester.

"Getting this moved forward is going to be a fight and protection for a lot of people," Beth said.

Amanda's family wants survivors to know they deserve to be heard.

"Don't hide it," Beth said at a recent fundraiser. "As soon as it happens, you need to speak up to protect yourself. Who else will protect you but you?"

The legislation was officially filed Monday. The co-sponsors expect it will have a hearing within 30 days.

Amanda’s alleged attacker, Carlos Asencio, has been undergoing a mental health evaluation and is due in court for a status hearing later in February.

Those affected by domestic violence can get help through resources listed here.


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