Legislators hear public input for bill to increase protection for children from domestic violence
It would elevate the crime to domestic violence aggravated assault if it’s committed in the presence of a child under 14.
AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Legislators heard public input today for a bill that would increase protection of children from domestic violence.
It would elevate the crime of domestic violence assault to domestic violence aggravated assault if it’s committed in the presence of a child under 14.
Several people spoke about changes to the bill they would make to eliminate any consequences such as children having to testify in domestic assault matters.
Rebecca Austin with the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence offered an amendment that would require guardians to go through education and legal training on the impact domestic violence has on children.
“The abuse commission recommends that guardians who take on domestic violence cases need to take on domestic violence expertise and thorough domestic violence training,” said Austin.
“This approach punishes after the fact but does not prevent the victimization of children or keep them safe. In order to keep children safe, legislators ought to provide resources for survivors and their children,” said Michael Kebede with ACLU Maine.
Kebede testified against the bill saying that there is no evidence that increasing the crime from class D to C keeps children safe.
The sponsor of the bill was not present for today’s hearing.
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