Governor signs legislation to protect victims of domestic violence

Posted at 11:40 PM, May 08, 2012
and last updated 2012-05-09 00:02:16-04

Richmond, VA. (WTVR) – Today, Governor McDonnell signed two bills into law designed to get more people the protection they need, and sooner.

The murder of UVA student Yeardley Love ignited an intense debate about restraining orders in Virginia.

According to the Domestic Violence Prevention and Response Advisory Board, between 2006 and 2010 in Virginia, 55% of all violent and sexual offenses were domestic. They account for 50% of simple assaults, and 75% of the victims were 17 years or younger.

“It’s a very difficult thing to protect from,” said Henrico County Sheriff Mike Wade.

Wade was glad to hear that the state is doing more to protect those victims.

Tuesday, McDonnell signed Delegate Jennifer McClellan's bill into law.

It will require circuit court clerks to enter protective order information into the state's criminal database that is in police cars by the end of the business day.

“We wanted to make sure those protective orders got communicated to the police,” said McClellan.

Another bill will allow judges to prohibit contact between the alleged abuser and the alleged victim and his or her family.

While both McClellan and Wade agree those are great laws, more needs to be done to protect victims. After all if someone is determined to hurt someone, a protective order won't keep them from doing it.

“But, I think this is a tool that helps to keep that from happening,” said McClellan.

“It`s the best thing we got, the best thing we can do, other than lock the people up,” Wade said.

The Governor also signed a bill into law to combat human trafficking. It will require schools to provide awareness training for students.