Louisa’s Law :To Reduce DV by Prevention, Services and Accountability

BettyJean Downing Kling

In the US, nearly 4 women are killed daily at the hands of their domestic partner, a woman is raped every few* minutes; a woman is battered every few* seconds. Every year, violence in the home and the community devastates the lives of millions of women. Perpetrators of violence against women are rarely held fully accountable for their acts. When women do challenge their abusers, it can often only be accomplished by long and humiliating court battles with little sympathy from authorities or the media. Violence against women is so deeply embedded in society that it often fails to garner public censure and outrage; instead the sentences are often nonexistent. It’s time to stop slapping the hands of perpetrators of violence against women. It’s time to send the message of zero tolerance. And It’s time to create specific sentences for VAW. Women must feel safer to file complaints and testify against their perpetrators and violators must take committing violence against women as the serious crime it is. * Statistics need to be updated to 2012

Louisa’s Law is proposed to honor my daughter, Louisa Richardson Rodas, who was caring for her dying sister Denise Richardson on the day she was shot in the head and permanently disabled by George Hartwig, Denise’s abusive husband.  Had the following proposed measures been in place on December 15, 2008, my daughter Louisa would not be lying in a nursing home, unable to sit or stand, unable to communicate, unable to eat or drink, unable to raise her children or recognize them. 

George Hartwig had viciously bludgeoned his dying wife Denise in the head with a hammer months earlier. He pled guilty to an attack on a dying woman for her pain medication as a result of drug abuse yet he was denied treatment. He was a repeat offender yet he was set free without bail and released without a restraining order. The only protection Denise had was her family taking turns to protect her. It was Louisa’s turn when George Hartwig returned with a shotgun and callously blew the right side of her head off.

Proposed Draft of Louisa’s law

Louisa’s Law seeks to require significant, effective sentences and strictly enforce VAW laws to reduce violence against women, using a three pronged approach of Prevention, Services and Accountability.

a)      Speedy trials because of the risk of repeat violence perpetrated while free on bail and incarceration during sentencing period;

b)      Enter an automatic and enforceable order of protection with a minimum term of ten years;

c)       Violators who were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the violation against a woman or who have any drug-related offenses within three years of the violence incident must enter a rehabilitation program and/or be tested periodically for continued drug or alcohol abuse;

d)      A GPS monitor should be installed if the violator is released from police custody using a system with victim notification;

e)   Full cash bail and full cash surety bonding must be implemented with domestic violence screening as part of the bonding process.  For repeat offenders or violators of restraining orders, offenders are not given the opportunity for bail but should remain incarcerated pending trial because of the documented risk of death to the victim and victim’s family members upon release of repeat offenders and those who have violated restraining orders; 

f)   Violator must enter an approved batter/anger management program with monitoring;

g)   Require a compliance conference before the judge for accountability;

h)   Sentences must be served rather than suspended so that the victims and their families are safe.

i)  Require judges to consider a variety of aggravating factors to ensure safety and punishment consistent with the risks for repeat violence, death, and permanent disability associated with VAW;

J.) Pro bono legal services are provided to the victim to advise her of her rights and direct her for help and services.

K.) Establishing a Nationwide Domestic Violence Registry for use by law enforcement and the public to promote instant access to existing orders of protection and residence of convicted abusers because of the risk of repeat violence.

 

 

 

 

Join our Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/MajorityUnited and register to be a part of the TMU WOMEN coalition that will advance Louisa’s Law , to reduce DV by prevention, services and demanding accountability. In this way we will change the way Justice is meeted out to abusers and reduce injustice  toward their  victims women, children and male intimate partners as well.

TMU is a non partisan group seeking equitable JUSTICE for All!

3 Responses

  1. Please tweet One Woman Can Change Anything Many Women Can Change Everything. Let it start with us. Please re-tweet

    http://freemenow.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/louisas-law-to-reduce-dv-by-prevention-services-and-accountability/

    The url will be shortened- please help us bring attention to this Law strengthening DV laws by tweeting the above which brings people to this url and asks women to re-tweet it as well. Let’s tweet and re-tweet this message untill the powers that be get it.
    It takes more than a village- it takes an army of women!

    On March 23/12 We received Justice – Consesecutive Sentencing for two attempted murders George will serve 30 years. Thank you for sticking with us and writing letters – we ask now that you write this Judge again – this time thank her for quoting the DV statistics and meeting out Justice in this case!

    For more on this story scroll down to He came to kill me: Don’t think for one moment he didn’t succeed. http://freemenow.wordpress.com/2011/12/27/he-came-to-kill-me-dont-think-for-one-moment-he-didnt-succeed/

    The Honorable Liliana S. DeAvila-Silebi
    Bergen County Justice Court
    10 Main Street
    Hackensack, NJ 07601

  2. Aw, this was a really good post. Finding the time and actual effort to create a really good article… but what can I say… I put things off a lot and never seem to get anything done.

  3. It’s hard to find experienced people on this topic, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

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