Harsher penalties proposed for domestic assaults

BOSTON (WWLP) – A new comprehensive domestic violence bill was proposed by state lawmakers that will add new criminal offenses, up the penalties, and boost prevention efforts.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Attorney General Martha Coakley announced a new bill that aims to combat domestic violence in the state.

House Speaker DeLeo told 22News, “This bill represents some of the strongest most comprehensive domestic violence legislation in at least a generation.”

Right now, the first offense of domestic violence is considered just assault. The new bill will make the first offense domestic assault to better identify repeat offenders in the future. It will also make choking a crime, an act that’s statistically proven to lead to homicide in the future.

A.G. Coakley said, “The bill also strengthens ways in which we give supports to women to say this is not about you having to get out of the house and hide. This is about making sure someone who is dangerous to you is going to be held accountable.”

The bill will streamline records, which will provide judges with an offender’s complete criminal history so that they make better decisions. Lawmakers also aim to boost prevention efforts by mandating more training for law enforcement and the judiciary.

If the bill is passed into law, it will increase the penalties of a second offense to five years in prison.

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