Bills would dismantle state’s domestic violence laws

Victim advocates say two bills being heard by the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee are “direct attempts to dismantle New Hampshire’s domestic violence laws.”

Rep. Dan Itse (R-Fremont) is the prime sponsor of House Bill 502 and House Bill 503, which would limit the ability of law enforcement to arrest perpetrators of domestic violence. Garry Rayno has the story:

The state’s domestic violence laws are considered some of the best in the country by victim advocates, but as was the case last year, some lawmakers want to significantly change them.

“These bills are direct attempts to dismantle New Hampshire’s domestic violence laws,” said Amanda Grady Sexton, director of public policy for the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. “They would turn back the clock to the ’70s, when there was no protection for victims.”

She said HB 502 would change the state’s presumptive arrest policy so that an officer who saw a beaten victim could not arrest the suspected abuser on the spot.

She said HB 503 would take away law enforcement’s ability to arrest someone for violating a stalking or domestic violence protective order until the victim had filed a criminal complaint with the court.

The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee will hold a public hearing for HB 502 and HB 503 on Tuesday, February 5, at 1:00 p.m.

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