The House is expected to be debating a new domestic violence bill next week. The proposed bill includes substantive changes to how domestic violence is handled in the legal system. Below are some of the highlights of the bill:
1. Municipal police training will be amended to include specific training on lethality factors and information sharing.
2. Required domestic violence training as part of in-service training (previously optional).
3. Increased confidentiality protections for domestic violence victims by prohibiting information regarding domestic violence complaints and arrests from being included in the daily police logs, which are public record. All complaints and arrests for domestic violence will be kept in a separate log.
4. Directs a number of health care boards of registration – medicine, nursing, and social work – to create standards for licensure that require training and education on domestic violence.
5. Allows District and Municipal courts to modify existing support and custody orders from the Probate & Family Court, for up to 45 days.
6. Prohibits courts from granting visitation rights to a parent convicted of rape, unless the child is old enough to consent and it is in the best interests of the child.
7. Required bi-annual domestic violence training to trial court personnel.
8. Establishes the Domestic Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance Fund which will fund a 3 year pilot program for innovative practices to prevent domestic violence and provide assistance to victims of domestic violence.
Please talk to your local representative about supporting this bill!