Friday, July 15, 2011

New Kansas domestic violence law goes into effect

There are a number of laws, initiatives, and programs in place to assist cases of domestic violence (as it is referred to by criminal justice personnel).  Many people might be aware of mandatory arrest laws or no-drop prosecution (future topics to be discussed in-depth on the blog), but for Kansas, a new law has just gone into effect. The law focuses heavily on repeat offenders and the idea of intervention strategies.  See what you think. 

TOPEKA — This month the most comprehensive domestic violence legislation ever passed in Kansas goes into effect. Originally passed by the 2010 legislature, House Bill 2517 was signed into law by former Governor Mark Parkinson in April 2010.

Recommended to the Kansas legislature by the Governor’s Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board, this law will assist the criminal justice system in documenting crimes associated with domestic violence.

This new law will improve tracking repeat domestic violence offenders by tagging files of men and women if there is an element of domestic violence in a case. This information will assist the courts, law enforcement, and advocacy groups to better respond to domestic violence offenses.

This legislation also requires the court system to order an assessment of the offender and recommend intervention treatment programs.

According to data from the Governor’s Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board, more than 20 women are killed each year in Kansas as a result of domestic violence. Nationally, domestic violence is one of the leading causes of injury to women. Data from the U.S. Department of Justice says that on average, three women are killed by their current or former partners each year.

Curt and Christie Brungardt of Hays, parents of the late Jana Mackey, were active supporters of this legislation. Mackey was a 25 year-old KU law student who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in Lawrence in 2008. Mackey was well-known throughout Kansas for her advocacy for women’s rights. As a young adult, Mackey served as a sexual assault and domestic violence advocate and served as one of the youngest lobbyists at the Kansas state capitol.

“We are very pleased with the actions of our legislature and Governor in addressing this serious issue,” said Christie Brungardt. “While we recognize that this new legislation alone will not stop domestic violence, it is an important step in the right direction.”

Here is video coverage discussing Kansas House Bill 2517 as well.

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