State Domestic Violence Task Force Finalizes Recommendations
A state work group has finalized a long list of recommendations for ways Virginia can better protect victims of dating and domestic violence. Those suggestions are on their way to Governor McDonnell. A big chunk of this work is focused toward violence on college campuses.
Many of these recommendations will be turned into legislation and given to the General Assembly to consider in January. Supporters say the proposals will protect women and save lives.
After months of work, Governor Bob McDonnell's Domestic Violence Task Force endorsed dozens of ideas, designed to aid victims of a growing problem.
Action Alliance Domestic Violence Advocacy Manager Gena Boyle said, "We know that domestic violence happens every day in Virginia. It's a serious problem. It has both fiscal impacts on the state government as well as serious implications for the everyday lives of Virginians."
Among the group's recommendations is a request for better, more uniform training for police and prosecutors on protective orders. Members say there's often just a few weeks to catch up on changes to the law.
Task Force Member Mike Doucette explained, "It's just not enough time to get these training programs and protocols changed."
There's also a push to improve the state's response to dating and domestic violence on college campuses. The group is recommending a state-wide campus safety coordinator, a study of college sexual assaults, and violence prevention teams at each school.
Task Force Member Julie Molloy said, "I think what we don't want to see happen is to establish a position and then have it disappear two years later."
The governor appointed the panel in the wake of domestic violence issues statewide, including the 2010 murder of UVA lacrosse player Yeardley Love. Supporters of the changes say they can truly make a difference.
"This is all about creating a better response for victims and trying to prevent domestic violence before it ever happens," said Boyle.
The big question in all of this has to do with money. State lawmakers have shied away from funding new programs recently. And on top of that, many domestic violence groups are worried about federal spending cuts, and how those could affect services for victims.
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