The Senate unanimously approved legislation last week to better protect citizens from domestic violence. Senate Bill 447 would require a court to schedule a full hearing on a protective order petition within 14 days of the filing rather than twenty, which is current law.
“One of our most important jobs in the Legislature is to ensure the safety of our citizens. Oklahoma has one of the highest rates of death from domestic violence in the nation, so obviously our domestic violence laws aren’t strong enough,” said Barrington, R-Lawton. “My bill will help speed up the court process ensuring that victims of this type of abuse get the protection they need sooner.”
The bill would also allow the court to consider the safety of any and all alleged victims that are subject to the protection of the order prior to the court determining whether to set a reasonable bond pending a hearing of the alleged violation of the order.
The bill was requested by one of Barrington’s constituents whose daughter was fatally wounded by her husband after she filed a restraining order against him.
In 2009, there was over 25,000 reports of domestic violence in the state, an increase of just over 14 percent since 2000 according to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. The Oklahoma Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board reported that there were 88 domestic violence deaths and 37 Intimate Partner Violence homicides that year. A Victim Protection Order existed in 24 percent of the Intimate Partner cases. Nearly 70 percent of the perpetrators had a history of committing domestic violence.
SB 447 is now awaiting consideration in a House committee.