There should be federal legislation analogous to Megan’s Law to protect women from domestic violence. Just as there is a national registry to protect children from sex offenders, this law would provide for a national registry to protect women from domestic abusers.
- Level 1 – restraining order issued by any court
- Level 2 – restraining orders issued on behalf of two or more women, or adjudged to have violated a restraining order.
- Level 3 – convicted of a charge of domestic battery, criminal harassment, or stalking.
- Level 4 – convicted of a charge of rape, kidnapping, murder, or an attack resulting in disfigurement or grievous bodily harm.
There are several reasons this is a good idea. First, prevention is the best way to address domestic violence. It is well-known how difficult it can be for victims of domestic violence to break free once they are in a relationship with a violent partner. For obvious reasons, batterers go to great lengths to conceal or minimize their past offenses. Women should be able to easily learn whether a potential partner has a history of restraining orders, or criminal convictions for violent crimes against women. Since restraining orders are issued by probate and family courts on a county-by-county basis, they essentially remain hidden.
There are scores of cases spanning several decades of women being murdered by men who have strong predictors of violence (a history of past offenses). Many of these tragedies could have been prevented. Legislation of the kind I am proposing would save lives.
-Preston W. Leonard, Esq.