Rogers Pushes Anti-Domestic Violence Bill
Date: April 1, 2014
(BOSTON) – Representative John H. Rogers (D-Norwood) is calling for comprehensive domestic violence reforms that create new criminal offenses, harsher penalties, increased prevention efforts and more empowerment of victims of domestic violence.
“As the father of three girls, I am passionately committed to eradicating the scourge of domestic violence in our society,” Rogers said. “But long before I became a dad, I have fought for laws that protect our innocent citizens against the tyranny of domestic violence,” he said.
Specifically, Rogers wants the House of Representatives to create a first-offense domestic assault and battery charge that Massachusetts state law currently does not provide. He also wants to create a separate and specific criminal statute for both acts of strangulation and suffocation, neither of which is specifically defined or punished under existing state law.
Rogers wants to make strangulation a felony offense. Currently, when an abuser strangles or suffocates another, then releases the victim to avoid murder, the abuser can only be prosecuted for the misdemeanor crime of assault and battery.
Rogers also wants to give law enforcement officials, attorneys, judges and medical professionals updated resources to help balance prevention and punishment. He wants to streamline and standardize records to ensure key decision-makers have accurate and complete access to an offender’s criminal history.
Rogers is pushing a bill currently under consideration before the House that would:
• abolish the antiquated practice of allowing accord and satisfaction agreements in domestic violence cases
• create a new offense domestic assault or domestic assault and battery near a court house
• create a new offense of domestic assault or domestic assault and battery with the intent to intimidate or prevent access to courts.
• give employment leave for victims of abuse
• prohibit domestic violence complaints from being included in daily police logs which are public record;
• impose fees on domestic violence offenses to be deposited in newly-created Domestic Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance fund to aid victims and their families
Rogers also wants the House to consider whether the law should allow, under certain circumstances, the delay of bail hearings for offenders in order to give the alleged victim enough time for safety planning.
House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop) has promised that the House will take up such a measure in the month of April, the month designated as National Child Abuse Prevention Month.