|New Protections For Domestic Violence Victims|
|BY WENDY MCNAMARA|
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time to remind everyone of the resources available for victims of abuse.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner physical violence at some point in their lives. According to the Evansville Police Department, there are more than 5,500 calls and incident reports related to domestic violence in the city every year.
I recently sponsored legislation to increase protections for victims. A new law enhances the crime of domestic battery to a Level 6 Felony if the victim has a protective order against the suspect or if the court has issued a no contact order. Previously, it was a misdemeanor charge.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, there are several local sources for help, including the Albion Fellows Bacon Center at 812-422-5622 and the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence hotline at 800-332-7385.
The Evansville Police Department’s Domestic Violence Unit is located at Holly’s House and can be reached at 812-437-7233. For a protective order, Vanderburgh County residents in need of a protective order – unless they have a pending divorce or legal separation in another court – can file at the Vanderburgh County Clerk’s Office. There is no charge to file a petition for a protective order.On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s my hope we can bring greater awareness to this issue and prevent further cases of violence.