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New Kansas Laws Protect Abuse and Assault Victims - KOAM TV 7

New Kansas Laws Protect Abuse and Assault Victims

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PITTSBURG, KANSAS -

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt congratulated state lawmakers Monday for making the state a better place for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Governor Sam Brownback recently signed a couple of bills that will aid those victims.

One bill extends the statute of limitations for sexual assault victims. The other elevates domestic assaults from simple battery to aggravated battery.

Brooke Powell is a program director at Safehouse, a program with a Pittsburg office that aids victims. She's thrilled the statute of limitations are being extended to aid victims of sexual assault. It will mean her clients can receive crime victim's assistance even if the sexual assault happened more than two years ago.

The bill sets the two year statute of limitations to the day a victim is notified that DNA testing has identified a suspect's genetic profile.

Brooke says, "They lose so much being a victim of sexual violence. So it's just one more thing that shows them there is support for them, and what they've been through. And there are resources to help them through the process."

The bill elevating domestic assaults from simple battery to aggravated battery is also popular with the Safehouse staff. Strangulation injuries were the motivating factor behind this bill, because that act of violence frequently does not leave visible injuries, and often results in only a misdemeanor.  
Brooke says, "We make sure that we're clear with (applicable domestic violence victims). Choking is when you choke on a piece of food. You've been strangled, and somebody has taken away your ability to breathe. And that's how you live, and somebody is taking away your ability to live."

The new bill looks to make it easier for prosecutors to bring their victims justice.

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