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Preventing domestic violence and its consequences

April 20, 2016
By State Senator Steve Sodders - D-State Center , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

To help in the fight against domestic violence and ensure the safety of victims, the Iowa Senate unanimously approved two major bills.

Each year, thousands of Iowans suffer abuse at the hands of their spouse, former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend. In 2014, Iowa had 13 domestic abuse murders-an average of more than one per month. Stalking often precedes domestic abuse murders, including stalking with the aid of a GPS to locate the victim.

House File 2399 cracks down on stalking and domestic violence by:

Article Photos

State Senator Steve Sodders
D-State Center

Ensuring violence between dating couples can be charged as criminal domestic abuse, which requires the offender to participate in a batterer's program.

Expanding the definition of stalking to stop abusers before they kill their victims.

Prohibiting use of a GPS device to locate a victim.

Ensuring repeat domestic abusers, stalkers and harassers spend time in prison.

Providing for electronic monitoring of abusers.

Providing for risk assessments to determine appropriate sanctions.

Victims are often trapped in abusive relationships because they have no money and nowhere to go. In fact, domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness for women and children in Iowa. House File 493 will ensure survivors of domestic violence can live in safe, affordable housing.

The most dangerous time for victims is just after they leave the relationship. Access to safe housing is crucial during this time. An abuser's relentless efforts to control and victimize their former partner often necessitate calls for emergency assistance. HF 493 prohibits landlords, cities and counties from penalizing victims of abuse who call for emergency assistance and other help from law enforcement.



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