Rethink Domestic Abuse Laws
By Steve Kropper
Dec. 28, 2012
Twenty-two years ago, I stopped a knife wielding man as he chased his wife in Dorchester. I did it on protective instinct, and was lucky not to get hurt. Then, the police, prosecutors, and courts did not take domestic abuse cases seriously. Today, the pendulum has swung the other way. Families are broken up as police and prosecutors automatically intervene upon one party’s complaint.
I believe there are three solutions to the problem:
- First, eliminate restraining orders that prevent communication between children and a parent. Healing requires communication. One angry parent should not be able to break up a family. And children deserve to keep connections with both parents.
- Second, eliminate restraining orders based on ONE party’s testimony. For every other crime, both parties have a right to be heard in court. Not in domestic disputes. Every restraining order issued in the Commonwealth was based on ONE angry spouse’s claims, before the accused could respond.
- Third, State law specifically prevents the accused party from seeking redress for false accusations. The “penalty of perjury” is not applied to false claims of domestic abuse fraud. And it is almost impossible to reverse fraudulent verdicts in domestic abuse.
For every case of domestic violence, nine other families are broken up. Domestic violence is a terrible crime, but we need a thoughtful solution that does not visit past injustice on today’s families.