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New law takes aim at domestic violence cont.


Continued from New law takes aim at domestic violence Page 1


Andrews also supported the provision, stating that it may help cut down on potential false accusations.

The Orange Democrat also said she hopes the state goes one step further in holding abusers accountable. She plans to spend the next few months working on a bill that would create a registry similar to the sex offender registry that would include names of those convicted of domestic violence.

Rosenberg’s office referred inquiries about the secrecy provisions to Sen. Karen Spilka of Ashland, who developed the bill.

Rep. Stephen Kulik and Sen. Benjamin Downing did not return calls for comment after repeated attempts.

The new law also:

∎ Creates a Domestic Fatality Review Team to investigate domestic violence related fatalities to serve as a tool to help officials understand problems in current protocol and help courts understand how they may do things differently.

∎ Requires employers of 50 or more employees to allow up to 15 days of leave, with or without pay, to an employee who is a victim of domestic violence or lives with a family member who is, to help victims recover.

∎ Establishes Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance Fund. New fees for domestic violence offenses will be invested in this fund. The fund would support practices to prevent domestic and sexual violence and provide assistance to victims of domestic violence. The fund would be under the control of the Department of Public Health.

∎ Increases penalties for subsequent restraining order violations to up to five years in state prison or up to 2½ years in a house of correction. Under existing law, penalties are limited to a fine of up to $5,000 or up to 2½ years in house of correction.

For help or advice, victims of domestic violence can call NELCWIT’s crisis hotline at 413-772-0806.

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at:kmckiernan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261 ext. 268On Twitter, follow @RecorderKatMcK

■ The law abolishes the practice of allowing “accord and satisfaction,” in domestic assault cases, a practice in which parties agree to a private financial settlement. The legislation, instead, leaves it up to the prosecutor to decide if a financial settlement or other private agreement is in the best interest of the victim.

“We see survivors who didn’t want to call police because they knew it would be in the police log the next day. It is their partner’s name and same address. It’s not anonymous. A lot of people are afraid to call for that reason.”