New legislation would strengthen laws regarding domestic violence

Last Thursday, April 14, a package of bills that would strengthen laws and increase penalties surrounding domestic violence incidents received unanimous passage in the state Senate.

According to Michigan State Police statistics from 2014 — the most recent data available — there were 91,147 victims of some form of domestic violence, ranging from 30,980 minor injuries to more than 4,000 sexual assaults and 99 murders.

State Rep. Robert Kosowski, D-Westland, one of the sponsors of the legislation, in an interview with another source, said “Michigan is definitely lacking in domestic violence laws. It’s time we put our foot down. This just shows what we’re about and that we’re making sure women are safe in Michigan.”

The bills would:

• Give a judge more discretion in whether to order mediation in a domestic-relations case if one of the parties had a personal protection order against the other, or a child abuse or neglect charge was an issue for one of the parties.

• Allow for alternative forms of serving legal papers on a person to protect the address of an individual who has a personal protection order.

• Allow a person seeking a personal protection order to include banning a person from harming any animals owned by the protected person.

• Increase the penalties for assault and battery of a pregnant woman by a spouse or a former partner in a domestic violence situation from a misdemeanor, which carries a sentence of 93 days in jail and a $500 fine, to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. For a person who has previous assault convictions, the crime would be a felony and the sentence would increase to five years in prison.

• Allow for the modification of the judicial ruling standard of what is in the best interest of the child when a domestic violence situation is involved.

• Prohibit custody or parenting time for certain parents of children who are conceived as the result of a sexual assault case.

The bills now move back to the House, where they originated and received nearly unanimous approval last year, for concurrence in changes made by the Senate.

That action is expected to take place this week.

If you or someone you know needs help, please contact any of the numerous resources available to get help.

 

Rob Herbstreith is a community service trooper with the Michigan State Police. If you have questions, email him at TrooperRob53@yahoo.com, or call (269) 683-4411.

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 747,697 cases, 16,512 deaths

Buchanan

Andrews University students invite public to imagine the next wave of redevelopment in Buchanan

Berrien County

Andrews University among 26 colleges partnering with MDHHS in vaccination efforts

Berrien County

Two area residents sentenced for assault, drug offenses

Berrien County

Despite governor’s urging, local students return to classrooms after spring break

Cass County

Village Free Store seeks donations

News

Niles Police Log: March 31 to April 7

Cass County

Stevensville man injured in La Grange Township crash

Berrien County

Teacher faces disciplinary action for allegedly soliciting 14-year-old

Cass County

Niles woman, son injured in single vehicle crash

Dowagiac

Round Oak’s impact on Dowagiac still felt 60 years later

Dowagiac

Young Professionals of Greater Dowagiac reach fundraising requirements for Russom Park Pavilion Project

Dowagiac

Rotarian Walter Swann discusses life, community outreach

Cass County

Three Rivers man sentenced to probation for meth possession

Cass County

Edwardsburg man sentenced to one year for assault

Cass County

Cass County hosting workshop about child abuse prevention

Berrien County

Spectrum Health Lakeland revises visitor guidelines

Berrien County

Gov. Whitmer asks residents to take COVID-19 precautions, high schools to suspend in-person activities

Cassopolis

Cassopolis couple working to get musical nonprofit off the ground

Berrien County

Berrien County commissioners approve 911 grant

Edwardsburg

Edwardsburg/Ontwa Township Police Log: March 29 to April 5

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 723,297 cases, 16,400 deaths

Cass County

Cass County 4-H offering painting program

Berrien County

Johnson and Johnson vaccine clinic to be hosted at Niles-Buchanan YMCA