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Oklahoma State Senate
Senator Jonathan Nichols, R-Norman
State Capitol Room 428
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
(405) 521-5535

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For Immediate Release: February 9, 2009

Sen. Jonathan Nichols
Sen. Jonathan Nichols

Nichols Plans Measure to Combat Domestic Abuse

Sen. Jonathan Nichols has authored legislation that would establish a felony for a first offense of domestic abuse, when a pattern of such behavior could be established.

“This legislation would provide our districts with another tool in their efforts to combat the epidemic of domestic abuse in Oklahoma,” said Nichols, R-Norman. “It’s a shame that there are harsher penalties for any number of first offenses than for the heinous crime of domestic abuse. The Legislature needs to send a message and establish penalties fitting of the crime.”

According to the Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, more than 340,000 women are beaten on a regular basis in Oklahoma. In 2006, Oklahoma ranked seventh in the nation with 33 domestic violence-related homicides. According to the Violence Policy Center, Oklahoma ranks 10th nationally in the rate of women murdered by men.

Nichols explained that under current law, a first offense of domestic abuse is a misdemeanor unless it can be established that great bodily harm has been inflicted on the victim.

“This wording doesn’t establish a firm legal threshold and creates a gray area that in many cases allows women to be seriously beaten while the aggressors aren’t held accountable,” Nichols said. “We need to correct this language and guarantee justice for vulnerable and victimized women. The epidemic of domestic abuse in Oklahoma is a blight on our state, and it’s our responsibility to address the issue and put an end to it.”

SB 788 has been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

For more information contact:
Sen. Nichol's Office: 405-521-5535

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