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Archive for Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bill adding protections to victims of abuse, stalkers could soon head to Gov. Brownback

March 20, 2012

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A bill that would provide additional protections to victims of stalking and domestic violence is headed to Gov. Sam Brownback.

This week, the Kansas Senate approved a version of the measure that the House passed last month. The bill will now head to conference committee before it could go to the governor’s desk.

The Kansas Attorney General’s Office and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation crafted the bill, which would make violations of protection from stalking and protection from abuse orders a level 6 felony. Such crimes are now misdemeanors.

The bill also would allow judges to extend the length of time that protection orders are valid, up to life. Orders are now valid for up to one year, and victims have to reapply every year — and potentially face their abuser in court.

Kansas resident Kristen Beaudette has been advocating for years to extend such orders. Beaudette was a victim of domestic violence and said having to face her abuser every year has been traumatic.

KBI deputy director Kyle Smith, who helped write the bill, said a new law would be a welcome change for victims and advocates.

“They deserve to have the system protect them,” Smith said.

In Douglas County in 2010, there were 295 filings for protection of abuse orders, which are sought when those involved had a previous relationship. Protection from stalking orders, filed when there is no previous relationship between the offender and victim, tallied 219 in the county in 2010.

Both orders prevent someone from contacting the victim, who must prove repeated acts of harassment or abuse by the offender.

Comments

JDL 2 years ago

Would violating any protection order be a felony? The bill says it's a felony if you violate an extended order.

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waterlily 2 years ago

Why would the police try to enforce stalking as a misdemeanor crime? It would be a waste of time, the perp would be back on the street before the officer finished the paperwork. By making stalking a felony, the police now have a reason to enforce.

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poolside 2 years ago

They didn't enforce the yearly ones in my town (not Lawrence or Topeka). He bragged about it in court and didn't even get so much as an ugly face from the judge.

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observant 2 years ago

Don't hold your breath waiting for brownie to do anything to protect women which this bill would do.

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Ragingbear 2 years ago

Too bad they won't enforce it in Topeka.

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Richard Payton 2 years ago

Appears that the victims may finally get something other than a piece of paper if the governor signs this bill into law. I'm shocked in a good way.

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