New laws are now in the books in Mississippi targeting a crime the state is seeing on a far too routine basis.
"Frankly for a number of years it was not a priority in this state. In recent years we've made a lot of progress," said state Senator David Blount. Blount says that progress is the fight against domestic violence.
Lawmakers passed legislation recently, which is now law, in an effort to give Mississippi better legal tools.
"Mississippi ranks near the top in the nation in instances of domestic violence. We need to lower that number and one way to do that is make it easier for prosecutors to prosecute people who break the law and make the law more effective to protect victims."
Under the law, a judge now has discretion in requiring alleged offenders to wear a tracking device as part of their bond conditions, which allows victims to monitor their every move.
"No one deserves to be terrorized in their own home, in their own lives," said Anna Walker Crump with the Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Crump says the law is a welcomed effort.
"Any new practices that will help make a victim feel that she will continue to be safe is definitely worth putting into effect," said Crump.
Also going into effect, a law which makes it illegal for anyone to stop a victim from calling for help.
"It says that our state is on the cutting edge, on the forefront, in making a difference in this epidemic of domestic violence and making a difference in the lives of their communities and citizens who are impacted by it," said Crump.
Crump hopes the new laws will encourage victims to come forward, while discouraging the crime from happening in the first place.
Copyright 2011 WLBT. All rights reserved.
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