By Erika Stanish
A town hall meeting will be held next week to address domestic violence in Oklahoma.
On Monday, Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman, filed four bills aimed to “tighten sentences for domestic violence offenders, increase accountability for their actions and further protect victims.”
According to a news release, Standridge said, “We must send the message that domestic assault will not be tolerated in Oklahoma.”
The first bill Standridge is working to push through legislation is Senate Bill 1103 which focuses on increasing the penalties associated with strangulation or attempted strangulation.
“According to the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention, strangulation victims are 750 percent more likely to be killed than victims who have never been strangled,” according to a news release.
Standridge said SB 1103 would remove the minimum sentence of one year for a person found to have committed these crimes and increases the maximum term to 10 years.
“Additionally, the measure increases the maximum fine from $3,000 to $5,000,” said Standridge. “Similarly, SB 1103 removes the minimum sentence of three years for a second offense, but increases the maximum sentence from 10 to 20 years of imprisonment.”
Standridge called strangulation is a gateway offense that can lead to grim outcomes to victims.
“National research says women who are the victims of homicide or attempted homicide are far more likely to have a history of being strangled, compared to abused women with no history of strangulation. There is no ‘pass’ when it comes to strangulation and I’m working to ensure we hold offenders accountable,” Standridge said.
SB 1105 would add domestic assault and battery to the list of 85% of crimes.
“(This) meaning a person convicted of this offense must serve 85 percent of his or her sentence before receiving consideration for parole,” Standridge said.
A person convicted of this crime would be sentenced up to 10 years in prison, Standridge said.
“SB 1104 adds the crime of domestic assault and battery against a known pregnant woman resulting in miscarriage to the list of 85 percent crimes,” Standridge said.
The last bill filed is SB 1102 which would authorize district attorneys to refer persons accused of domestic abuse or assault to a deferred prosecution program.
“This would require the accused to attend a batterers’ intervention program certified by the Attorney General or other certified treatment program as currently required for defendants with suspended or deferred sentences for the same or similar offenses,” said Standridge. “The accused would be required to participate in the counseling or treatment for a minimum of 90 days and could not reside with or be in contact with the victim or his or her family.”
The town hall will be held on Dec. 9 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Norman Public Library in the Redbud Room.
“We must do a better job to protect the victims of these crimes and hold those who commit them accountable for their actions,” Standridge said.
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