Criminal Justice

Lawmakers Work to Curb Violence Against Women

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February 14th — Two separate pieces of legislation dealing with domestic violence and sexual assault are moving through the Indiana statehouse. House Bill 1014, coauthored by Representative Chuck Moseley of Portage, would allow courts to waive the required 60 day waiting period to dissolve a marriage if one partner has been found guilty of committing crimes of domestic violence or child abuse.

“This bill protects the rights of women in divorce cases by offering them additional protection from their abusive husbands, as well as extending this protection to any children in these homes,” said Moseley. He believes the bill will expedite the process of divorce cases involving domestic violence. “Too often I’ve seen women find the courage to leave these abusive homes but the victimization does not stop after the termination of the relationship,” said Moseley. “This legislation will help protect the women and children who escape these toxic relationships.”

The bill passed unanimously out of the House and is now being considered in the Senate.

Another proposal, aimed at addressing sexual assault in Indiana, was revived this week after it failed to pass during the first half of the legislative session. The legislation, authored by Representative Christina Hale of Indianapolis, calls for an extensive study of Indiana’s high rate of sexual assault.

According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control, statistics indicate that one in six girls in Indiana, or about 17 percent, are raped before they graduate high school. The measure was added as an amendment to Senate Bill 227, an extension of current legislation commonly known as the lifeline bill which deals primarily with immunity for certain alcohol related offenses if the offender is assisting someone experiencing a medical emergency.

“We’re going to do something and we’re going to do it the right way so that we can be efficient with our resources and effective,” Hale says. “And to be efficient and effective, we have to have a better understanding of the problem.”

The bill containing Hale’s study was unanimously approved by a House committee. It now heads to the House floor for second reading on Monday.

 

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