Domestic violence policies improve legal protection for victims

Domestic violence policies improve legal protection for victims

Ever since Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown’s cousin was murdered by an estranged partner in 2008, he has served as a champion for those suffering under domestic abuse. Brown has been a force for change in the state of Maryland, working to improve domestic violence legislation and extend additional protections to victims of such attacks. The result: The current administration has implemented a variety of reforms and programs that have actually reduced the number of domestic violence incidents in the state. If you are in a domestic violence situation, these laws may be able to help you reach safety and protect your legal rights.

Two bills were approved in March to help provide additional security for domestic violence sufferers. In the past, these individuals had to provide “clear and convincing evidence” — a heavy evidence burden — in order to obtain a protective order. Now, a lower standard known as “preponderance of the evidence” is in place. That means that a victim can now obtain a protective order without having to endure the rigors of aggressive courtroom proceedings.

Additionally, new protections have been expanded to victims who have suffered from second-degree assaults. Those people can now obtain permanent protective orders against their attackers. Add this to the legislation that improved unemployment benefits for domestic violence victims, along with improved requirements for residential leases, and it becomes clear that Maryland is taking real steps to shield victims from ongoing danger.

Every domestic violence case is different — they can deal with family issues, custody disputes and a variety of other topics. It is important for victims to remember that they are protected by legal statutes that give them additional support when leaving an abusive situation. No one should have to worry about providing extensive evidence for a protective order even as they are fearing for their own safety.

Source: Office of Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, “Lt. Governor Brown’s Domestic Violence Legislation Receives Final Passage from General Assembly” March 31, 2014

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