The new director of Project Safe, which provides domestic violence and crisis services in the Shawnee area, said HB 1912, now signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin, will provide support in their mission to help victims become survivors.
The bill, which strengthens protective orders in an effort to better protect those affected by domestic violence, becomes state law on Nov. 1.
Authored by House Speaker T.W. Shannon, the bill allows a victim to file for a protective order without filing a previous criminal or legal complaint against an alleged defendant. The court can also consider the safety of a victim before setting a bond for the alleged violator to get out of jail for a violation of a protector order violation.
“We have seen time and time again where an abuser who has been arrested for violating a protective order will post a small bond and then attack or kill his victim within days or even hours,” said Shannon, R-Lawton. “We have to do more to make it as difficult as possible for these criminals to harm or kill their victims.”
Tracy Ecker, who became the director of Project Safe in Shawnee about three weeks ago, said the bill can help those impacted by domestic violence.
“I was very pleased to see we have T.W. Shannon on the side of the victims of domestic violence,” Ecker said. “With that support, we can continue our mission, which is making going from victim to survivor possible.”
HB 1912 also releases the victim from having to attend any kind of victim and offender counseling as a requirement of a protective order.
Under current law, following a protective order hearing, the court may require both the plaintiff and/or defendant to undergo counseling services and both parties would have to pay for the services. Now, only the defendant is required to pay for counseling if both parties make such an agreement.