New Bill Aims to Establish Domestic Assault Conviction Registry

New Bill Aims to Establish Domestic Assault Conviction Registry

Legislators in Tennessee are proposing a bill that would record those convicted of domestic violence in an effort to reduce the state’s high rate of domestic abuse.

In 2021, domestic abuse affected almost 67,000 Tennesseans, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI). The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s helpline receives more than 20,000 calls every day on average.

A recently proposed law in the House and Senate helps victims of domestic abuse. As written, the bill would establish a registry of individuals convicted of domestic abuse by collaborating with the TBI.

Lawmakers expressed hope that it would stop similar attacks in the future.

The bill’s author, state representative Sabi “Doc” Kumar (R-Springfield), stated that it was created in memory of a woman who was allegedly shot and killed inside her home in 2022 by her ex-boyfriend.

The suspect had prior domestic assault charges, according to a TBI background check.

Kumar clarified, “She would have probably checked it, and this might not have happened.” “Her mother truly believes that this could have been avoided.”

If this bill were to become law, a spokeswoman from the domestic abuse treatment center Jean Crowe Advocacy Center said there’s a chance it may inform individuals about their spouse.

According to Ashley Cathey, director of client services at the Jean Crowe Advocacy Center, “They don’t know that they can see things like criminal arrests and things like that, and so when they find out about these things or when it happens to them, they are completely surprised that this is something they have done to other people in the past.”

But if the abuser lies, she added, it might open the door to unfounded allegations and prosecution against the victim.

“There are times when offenders will manipulate the criminal justice system, and the true victim ends up being arrested as the offender in a lot of cases where they were just defending themselves,” Cathey stated.

“Ten years ago, this may not have been of interest to people,” Kumar stated. “But now again, because of the mental health epidemic, as well as increasing violence in the society, this may be the time to get this done.”

On Wednesday, March 20, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill. The finance committee will get it next.

The largest obstacle to adopting this bill, according to Kumar and Massey, will be obtaining the funding necessary to support it.

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