Lawmakers in Olympia hope to make serial domestic violence a more serious crime, with stronger consequences. Dan Frizzell has more.
Domestic violence is just what the name implies: a violent crime. Studies confirm what legislators had suspected: Those who use violence in the home tend to resort to it again and again, and the same people are prone to other crimes of violence as well. With that evidence in hand, the state House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Wednesday night to make domestic violence a felony rather than a misdemeanor for the third conviction in a 10-year period. That can mean prison rather than jail or a simple fine, and the sponsors of the bill hope the threat of tougher sentences can lead to fewer instances of domestic violence. Representative Shelley Kloba, a freshman Democrat from Kirkland, is one of those sponsors.
“A home should be a place of love, security, and safety above all. But for too many, that is just not the case. We are making sure that when there is domestic violence, particular perpetrated upon a child or in the presence of a child, that that repeated occurrence gets punished. No child should be abused once or have to witness it, and certainly not more than once.”
The bill, which passed with a 93-to-five vote, also calls for DNA to be collected from perpetrators when convicted, and requires a short training course in spotting signs of domestic violence for hairdressers, make-up professionals and others who might frequently come into contact with victims of domestic violence. The fate of the bill now rests with the Senate. In Olympia, I’m Dan Frizzell.