Johnson’s bill would add domestic abusers to violent crime registry
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Published: 08-Feb-2011
CapitolBeatOK Staff Report

Published 08-Feb-2011

A recent murder/suicide has drawn attention to a sobering Oklahoma statistic. The young mother of a 14-month old was murdered, apparently by the baby’s father, in the Mid-Del area of central Oklahoma County. The man then shot himself, investigators have concluded.

According to a legislative staff release sent to CapitolBeatOK today (Feburary 8), more women are murdered in Oklahoma by their significant others than in most other states.  Sen. Constance N. Johnson has filed legislation to address the issue and help fight domestic violence in the state.

“Protecting citizens is our most important job as lawmakers.  We need to ensure that women have all the tools necessary to protect themselves from harm. Knowledge is power,” said Johnson, a Democrat representing eastern Oklahoma County.  

“Given the high rate of death from domestic abuse in our state, a useful step to take is to make people convicted of domestic violence register with law enforcement just like sex offenders and perpetrators of other violent crimes.  The public, and in this case women, deserve to be aware of who these individuals are.”

Senate Bill 502 would add domestic violence to the list of crimes requiring registration under the Mary Rippy Violent Crime Offenders Registration Act.  The registry was created in 2004 and is maintained by the Department of Corrections.

In the words of Johnson’s release, “Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through the use of fear and intimidation, often including the threat or actual use of violence.  It can include emotional, economic and sexual abuse as well as threats, using children, male privilege, intimidation, isolation, or a variety of other behaviors to maintain fear, intimidation, power, and control.”

According to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, there were 25,189 reports of domestic violence in the state in 2009, an increase of just over 14 percent since 2000.  The state saw a nearly 18 percent increase in domestic violence murders in 2009 with a total of 60 deaths.  The Oklahoma Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board found that nearly 55 percent of the victims were female and just over 70 percent of the perpetrators were male.  Over half of the victims were current or former intimate partners, and there was evidence of prior domestic violence in nearly 80 percent of the cases.”

Senator Johnson said, “This bill will help give individuals, especially women, a way to check out possible partners before they get involved in a potentially dangerous relationship. It’s extremely hard to get out of an abusive relationship as was evidenced by the more than forty percent of Oklahomans who were killed in 2009 in domestic violence cases while in the process of leaving their partner.  Adding domestic violence information to this database will prevent future unnecessary abuse and deaths.”

 Johnson went on to point out that according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime and an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year since 2000.  The state saw a nearly 18 percent increase in domestic violence murders in 2009 with a total of 60 deaths.  The Oklahoma Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board found that nearly 55 percent of the victims were female and just over 70 percent of the perpetrators were male.  Over half of the victims were current or former intimate partners, and there was evidence of prior domestic violence in nearly 80 percent of the cases.

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