Topeka Decriminalizes Domestic Violence
The Washington Post reports:
"The vote is being called a cost-cutting measure, as neither the City Council nor the district attorney wants to foot the bill to prosecute the cases."
Decriminalizing domestic violence on the local level supposedly will force the District Attorney "to prosecute the cases because they would remain a crime under state law," according to the New York Times. However, "several victims of domestic violence spoke against the proposal at the meeting, questioning whether it would succeed in forcing the district attorney to resume prosecutions."
In the meantime, while the City Council and district attorney squabble over who has the responsibility for paying for the bad guys to go to jail, “since early September, Topeka has had at least 35 reported incidents of domestic battery or assault, and those cases are not being pursued. As of last Friday, 18 people jailed have been released without facing charges, according to Topeka police,” as reported by the Associated Press.
While public officials are trying to figure out who is going to be responsible for these cases, they are playing with the safety of the people whom they are supposed to be protecting.
"I absolutely do not understand it… It's really outrageous that they're playing with family safety to see who blinks first," Rita Smith, executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said. "People could die while they're waiting to straighten this out."
It has been terrifying enough to see women’s rights systematically limited and repealed over this past year with regard to abortion and family care, but to add the insult of repealing one basic protection women have against violent home lives is absolutely sickening.
Very few victims of domestic abuse actually come forward, and those that do now have to face the consequences when their abusers are set free because domestic violence is no longer illegal. This poor choice, ironically made during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, is putting the lives of victims of domestic violence in danger.