House passed bill to make it easier for victims to leave abusive situations

Published 7:25 pm Thursday, February 8, 2007

The Mississippi House has passed a bill that would make leaving an abusive relationship easier for victims of domestic violence.

The House bill, passed 120-0 on Tuesday, would give law enforcement better access to protective orders requiring abusers to stay away from their victims.

A similar bill is pending in the Senate.

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“It’s going to give more protection,” said Rep. Frances Fredericks, D-Gulfport, one of the bill’s sponsors. “It’s making it easier to go into court.”

Obtaining a protective order must be simplified, said Pat Davenport, CEO of the Greenville-based Our House domestic violence program, which serves eight Delta counties.

“The most dangerous time for a victim of domestic violence is when she leaves,” Davenport said. “It’s all about power and control. He wants to regain power.”

Under current law, protective orders must be shown at the scene of the crime in order for police officers to act on them. An abuse victim who either has misplaced the piece of paper or left it behind would not have that protection.

The bill also would create a statewide registry for protective orders so victims will not have to carry the piece of paper wherever they go.

The bills are House Bill 905 and Senate Bill 3036.