February 8, 2011
Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster today announced the release of a report outlining 12 recommendations to offer greater protection to victims of domestic violence. The recommendations include statutory changes as well as “best practices” suggestions for law enforcement and courts, and are the product of the Task Force on Domestic Violence Koster created in September.
“Domestic violence is an assault that affects not only the victims but their families and communities as well,” Koster said. “It is in everyone’s interest to promote prevention, hold batterers accountable, and provide security to those in danger. The Attorney General’s Task Force on Domestic Violence has identified areas in which we can implement improvements to do just that.”
Koster said the recommendations include statutory changes that require legislative initiatives, some as straightforward as enacting a consistent definition of “domestic violence,” and others more comprehensive, such as updating the requirements and conditions of orders of protection and jurisdiction for juveniles. The report includes sample legislative language for each statutory change. He said other recommendations identify best practices for law enforcement and the court system, including formalized collaborative relationships among law enforcement, advocates, and prosecutors. A copy of the report and recommendations of the task force can be found at http://ago.mo.gov/domesticviolence/.
The task force consisted of representatives of groups involved in the domestic violence protection system, including law enforcement, prosecutors, victims’ advocates, probation and parole, and court officials, as well as legislators, including: Representatives Chris Kelly and Stacey Newman, who were present at all three task force meetings; Senators Joan Bray, Jolie Justus, Kurt Schaefer, and Robin Wright-Jones; and Representatives Shalonn Curls, Jeff Grisamore, Tishaura Jones, Jason Kander, Margo McNeil, Jeff Roorda, Jill Schupp, Mary Still and Stephen Webber.
“Victims of domestic violence are among our state’s most vulnerable, and we owe it to them to make sure that we are working as seamlessly as possible through all aspects of our law enforcement and legal systems to protect them,” Koster said.