City law change attacks domestic violence

city-hallA city council committee today advanced a change to toughen city law against domestic violence.

It would for the first time allow city prosecutors to charge people for violating ex parte orders of protection.

Those are orders issued after a victim files for protection but before evidence is heard in a court hearing for a full order of protection, which can take about two weeks.

The measure, with nine council co-sponsors, goes to the city council Thursday for final approval.

It will allow quick prosecution of offenders who use things like phone calls or text messages to try to control their victims before the court hearing, Det. David Kissee told the public safety committee Wednesday.

“The honey I love you” calls are attempts at victim control, he said. “The quicker we can get them (offenders) into our judicial system the safer the victims.”

Kansas City police alone, not counting sheriff deputies or private processors, have served 719 ex parte orders of protection this year, he said.

There have also worked two domestic violence homicides, 554 domestic aggravated assaults and 2,589 non aggravated assaults, he said.

“It seems like all these cases come down to the perpetrator trying to control the victims,” Kissee said.

Councilman Scott Taylor said the change is being made at the request of the police and with the support of advocates for victims.

Currently Jackson County handles prosecutions for violating ex parte orders but it has a high volume of cases and puts priorities on the most severe, Kissee said.

So violators can get away too long with things like phone calls and text messages, he said.

Councilman John Sharp, whose step daughter was murdered in a domestic violence killing, said, “I’m convinced this ordinance will save lives.”

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