Domestic violence policies improve legal protection for victims

Domestic violence policies improve legal protection for victims

Ever since Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown’s cousin was murdered by
an estranged partner in 2008, he has served as a champion for those suffering
under domestic abuse. Brown has been a force for change in the state of
Maryland, working to improve
domestic violence legislation and extend additional protections to victims of such attacks.
The result: The current administration has implemented a variety of reforms
and programs that have actually reduced the number of domestic violence
incidents in the state. If you are in a domestic violence situation, these
laws may be able to help you reach safety and protect your legal rights.

Two bills were approved in March to help provide additional security for
domestic violence sufferers. In the past, these individuals had to provide
“clear and convincing evidence” — a heavy evidence burden
— in order to obtain a protective order. Now, a lower standard known
as “preponderance of the evidence” is in place. That means
that a victim can now obtain a protective order without having to endure
the rigors of aggressive courtroom proceedings.

Additionally, new protections have been expanded to victims who have suffered
from second-degree assaults. Those people can now obtain permanent protective
orders against their attackers. Add this to the legislation that improved
unemployment benefits for domestic violence victims, along with improved
requirements for residential leases, and it becomes clear that Maryland
is taking real steps to shield victims from ongoing danger.

Every domestic violence case is different — they can deal with family
issues, custody disputes and a variety of other topics. It is important
for victims to remember that they are protected by legal statutes that
give them additional support when leaving an abusive situation. No one
should have to worry about providing extensive evidence for a protective
order even as they are fearing for their own safety.

Source: Office of Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, “Lt. Governor Brown’s Domestic Violence Legislation Receives Final
Passage from General Assembly
” March 31, 2014