25 Investigates: Bill in honor of domestic violence victim clears major hurdle in Mass. Senate

BOSTON — The fight for equal protections for all Massachusetts workers, who are victims of domestic violence, took a major step forward on Thursday. A Webster family’s push to change state law in honor of their daughter cleared the state Senate.

Four years and three legislative sessions later, it passed as Massachusetts Senate budget amendment 901 with a unanimous vote, 39-0 in favor.

“No one who is the victim of domestic violence should lose their job if they suffer an injury from the domestic abuse,” said State Sen. Ryan Fattman. (R-Worcester)

Fattman has co-sponsored the legislation for the last three sessions.

It is inspired by the tragic events that surrounded the final months of Amanda Dabrowski’s life.

25 Investigates has documented Amanda’s story and the legislation push for years.

In 2019, Amanda was attacked during a violent home invasion inside her home in Ayer. Her alleged attacker, a coworker and ex-boyfriend, Carlos Asencio.

As 25 Investigates has documented, Amanda notified her employer of the attack. She was terminated just two days later.

Massachusetts has employment protections for victims of domestic violence, up to 15 days of leave. But right now, it only applies to full-time employees. Amanda was a contract worker. Her family has been fighting to close this legal loophole ever since.

“If you’re working, you’re earning a paycheck, you’re paying taxes, don’t you have the rights for protection,” said Amanda’s mother, Beth Dabrowski, at the State House in May 2023. “That’s why we fight.”

Months after that home invasion attack, Asencio tracked Amanda down to a crowded Worcester restaurant and stabbed her multiple times.

A jury convicted Asencio of murder in 2023.

This amendment is now part of the Senate budget.

Once the Senate approves a full budget, it will go into conference with the House’s version. 25 Investigates will continue to follow the progress of this legislation.

The Dabrowski’s shared the following statement with 25 Investigates after Thursday’s vote:

“We are very pleased with Senator Fattman’s and Representative McKenna’s pursuit of this amendment - thank you.  This is a step in the right direction to assist victims of domestic violence.  Amanda did not have this opportunity.”

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