Ensuring Equal Rights In Cases of Domestic Violence

During this third week of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, all of us at Marsy’s Law for Maine continue to honor the victims and survivors of domestic violence, as well as their advocates.

The statistics on domestic violence in our country and here in Maine are alarming. Perpetrators of domestic violence use a range of coercive and abusive tactics against their victims. Often, these tactics include physical violence and, far too often, the most violent act of all: murder.

Nationally, nearly half of all murdered women in the United States are killed by romantic partners. According to a 2016 report by the Maine Domestic Abuse Homicide Review Panel, domestic violence murders account for about half of all homicides in our state. The majority of victims are women. Many are children.

Under current Maine law, those who commit violence against people they purportedly love have stronger and more enforceable legal rights than the innocent people they harm. With Marsy’s Law for Maine, domestic violence victims will have equal, constitutional rights, including the right to timely notification of the release of the perpetrator, timely notification of legal proceedings in their cases, and the right to be heard at any public proceeding involving a release, plea or sentencing of the accused. 

Survivors of domestic violence, and the loved ones of those lost to these crimes, deserve to have the common-sense equal rights and much-needed justice Marsy’s Law for Maine finally will afford them.

As we noted in last week’s blog, programs and resources are available 24/7/365 to help victims of domestic violence. If you or someone you know is a victim, we urge you to call the Maine Domestic Violence Helpline: 1-866-83-4HELP, (Hearing Impaired Use Maine Telecommunications Relay Service: 1-800-437-1220), or call 911 for immediate help.