Senate passes domestic violence reduction bill

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(Host) The Senate has strongly endorsed an initiative that backers hope will significantly reduce domestic violence in Vermont.

The legislation allocates roughly $1.5 million to a variety of prevention and enforcement programs.

The bill is one of the top priorities of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has studied the issue for the past year.

Windsor Senator John Campbell says the number of domestic violence cases is rising in Vermont. He says last year the Vermont Network Against Domestic Violence responded to more than 15,000 hotline crisis calls, and served over 8,000 victims.

Campbell says it’s critical for the state to take a comprehensive approach.

(Campbell) "Domestic violence is something that we like to think happens in someone else’s neighborhood, happens to somebody else. But it doesn’t. It happens in our neighborhoods. It happens to our friends. It happens to our families. It’s something that is so insidious that no one goes untouched by this crime."

(Host) Campbell says a key part of the bill makes money available to counsel children in abusive families, so that these children don’t repeat the behavior of their parents.

(Campbell) "This then creates another perpetrator for a future crime. This is where this has to stop. This body has an opportunity to effectively make a change in the lives of Vermonters.”

(Host)  The legislation is financed by increasing a variety of criminal justice fees. The measure will come up for final approval in the Senate on Thursday.

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