Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: May 13, 2008
Sen. Jonathan Nichols
Nichols Plans Amendment
to Combat Domestic Abuse
Nichols on Tuesday planned to amend legislation to establish
a felony for a first offense of domestic abuse, when a pattern of
such behavior could be established.
Nichols said high rates of domestic abuse in Oklahoma demand harsher
penalties. According to the Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic
Violence and Sexual Assault, more then 340,000 women are beaten
on a regular basis in Oklahoma. In 2006, Oklahoma ranked seventh
in the nation with 33 domestic violence-related homicides. According
to the Violence Policy Center, Oklahoma ranks 10th nationally in
the rate of women murdered by men.
“This would be another tool in the arsenal of our district
attorneys in combating the epidemic of domestic abuse,” said
Nichols, R-Norman. “It’s an embarrassment that there
are harsher penalties for a first offense of cockfighting in this
state than for punching your spouse in the face. The punishment
needs to fit the crime.”
Nichols explained that under current law, a first offense of domestic
abuse is a misdemeanor unless it can be established that great bodily
harm has been inflicted on the victim.
“This terminology doesn’t establish a firm legal threshold
and creates a gray area that in many cases allows women to be seriously
beaten while the aggressors aren’t held accountable,”
Nichols said. “We have an opportunity today to correct this
language and guarantee justice for vulnerable and victimized women.
The frequency of domestic abuse in Oklahoma is a blight on our state,
and it’s our responsibility to address the issue and put an
end to it.”
Nichols said the amendment would require the testimony of a third
party who observed a pattern of conduct or other admissible evidence
of domestic violence to establish a pattern of behavior.
For more information contact:
Sen. Nichols' Office: (405) 521-5535