KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Survivors of domestic violence in Missouri might soon be able to get orders of protection that last longer than a year.
Missouri lawmakers passed a bill Monday that would extend the length for order of protections in certain situations. The bill is now sitting on Gov. Mike Parson’s desk.
“It will be life saving and life changing,” Hope House CEO MaryAnne Metheny said.
Currently, protection orders in domestic violence cases can only be renewed one year at a time. This often traumatizes survivors, according to Metheny.
“They have to be in front of a judge again. They have to be face-to-face with their abuser, and that is traumatizing,” Metheny said. “To have to do that over and over and over again really puts the control with the abuser.”
Annie Struby, blueprint for safety coordinator at Rose Brooks, said renewing protection orders every year can also become a financial burden for survivors.
Struby spoke to lawmakers in support of the bill.
“This is going to give [survivors] a chance to know that long-term they are protected and have some recourse if the batterer violates that order,” Struby said.
If the bill becomes law, a judge can extend the length of protection orders after weighing different factors, including whether the defendant has violated a previous protection order; has a history of assaulting or stalking the victim; or has a record of dangerous felony offenses.
“These are persistent abusers that the bill is aimed towards who stalk and who continue their behavior for years,” Struby said. “Those victims are in the most danger of being seriously injured or killed.”
If you or someone you know needs to escape an abusive situation or has questions about domestic violence, there is a 24/7 Domestic Violence Hotline available at 816-471-5800 and 816-861-6100.