Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hobbs amendment to protect domestic violence victims passes committee

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – An amendment introduced by Rep. Katie Hobbs, D-Phoenix (District 15), that would help domestic violence victims in child custody cases, passed in the Health and Human Services committee Wednesday.

Hobbs proposed an amendment to SB 1127, which creates new criteria for judges to consider when deciding child custody cases. That criteria includes whether a false “allegation of domestic violence or child abuse … has been made … to harass the other parent.” Critics of the bill argue that it could prevent victims of domestic violence from reporting the crime out of fear of it being used against them in court.

“This bill unfairly targets victims of domestic violence and may prevent them from reporting it to family court judges,” Hobbs said. “Any chilling effect that results in domestic violence going unreported is bad for children.”

Hobbs’ amendment to the bill would ensure that victims are not accused of making a false allegation when they report domestic violence.

“This amendment will assure that women and children who are victims of domestic violence have an equal say in courts when courts consider the custody of a child,” Hobbs said. “It gives the extra legal protection that they need to protect their physical and mental well-being.”

Hobbs’ amendment will be added onto the bill before it goes to the floor for a full House vote.

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