The Savannah Chatham Family Violence Council

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FVC 2011 Legislative Agenda

September 03, 2010

2011 Legislative Issues: Savannah Chatham Family Violence Council

Redefine the crime of prostitution to penalize only those 16 or over.

Rationale: Girls 15 and younger should be treated by the criminal justice system as the victims of molestation or sexual exploitation that they are.

Expand the child hearsay exception to include victims who suffer “cruel or excessive mental pain.”

Rationale: Currently, statements made to others by children under the age of 14 are not admissible in court unless the children were victims of sexual or physical abuse. Child victims of severe emotional abuse should also be covered by the statute.

Create a statue specifically making strangulation a felony.

Rationale: Ten percent of violent deaths in the United States are attributable to strangulation. Strangulation occurs frequently as a form of domestic violence, as a form of child abuse and as a component of sexual assault. It is very dangerous - even if the victim survives the strangulation, long term harm can occur. It is currently difficult to prosecute these cases as felonies, because there is no specific statute (we have to use aggravated assault). With a specific statute, police would be more likely to investigate strangulation cases, and the cases would be easier to prosecute as felonies.

Alter the burglary statute so that entering someone's home without authorization in order to commit a crime is a burglary.

Rationale: Currently, it is burglary only if the offender enters with the intent to commit a felony or a theft. If a domestic violence abuser breaks into the victim's home to commit battery, the abuser could be charged with a felony, rather than just the two misdemeanors of battery and criminal trespass.

Alter the battery statute so that a prior felony conviction for family violence enhances a new act of family violence battery to a felony.

Rationale: As the law stands now, a prior misdemeanor family battery conviction enhances a current family violence battery to a felony. It is logical that a prior felony family violence conviction should do the same.

Posted by FVC

 

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