Utah To Close Gap When Domestic Violence Suspects Harass Victims


The first 36 hours after an abuser is arrested are often the scariest for a domestic violence victim, says Katy Peterson of the Dove Center, a Utah domestic violence center. “They start doubting themselves and fear the repercussions of what they've done,” she says. If there is any delay in getting a protective order in place — which is likely if an arrest happens at night or on a weekend, when courts are closed — those are the hours when an abuser often tries to manipulate a victim through repeated telephone harassment, even from behind bars.

The gap is closed once an alleged abuser bails out of jail and is given a no-contact order, designed to give a victim enough time to get a temporary protective order. “Until that no-contact order or no-release order is in place, there is nothing we [can] do about it,” said Shauna Jones of the Washington County Sheriff's Office. That bill will change in May when a bill Gov. Gary Herbert signed yesterday will make it a class B misdemeanor for an alleged abuser to contact a victim after being arrested and while detained in jail.

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