CONCORD – Senator Donna Soucy of Manchester released the following comments at the public hearing of Senate Bill 318 on her prime sponsored bill known as “Joshua’s Law” which criminalizes domestic violence in New Hampshire.
“This legislation has been a long time in coming. Our understanding and awareness of domestic violence has evolved considerably over the past 30 years. We understand that with domestic violence the issue of public safety becomes one of private safety.”
“We have enacted reasonable civil protections for victims, but we still do not have a crime of domestic violence. In fact, New Hampshire is 1 of only 15 states that do not have a crime of domestic violence.”
“When a person is attacked by a stranger in a bar. The attacker is arrested and brought to the police station for booking and is charged with a crime. The victim of the attack, is allowed to go to a safe place usually home. But what happens when the same attack occurs in the victim’s home – where do they go to feel safe? Where does the attacker go? These are obviously very different situations and yet under current law both alleged attackers would be charged with the same crime.”
“This is why we need to make domestic violence a crime, because we know that these are very different situations.”
“I urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to pass ‘Joshua’s Law’ to take existing statutes which are commonly charged in domestic violence cases and bring them under the umbrella of one crime – Domestic Violence.”
“I propose naming this new law “Joshua’s Law” after Joshua Savyon who was killed by his own father at the YWCA in Manchester.”
Senate Bill 318 “Joshua’s Bill” is supported by New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police, New Hampshire Sheriff’s Association, New Hampshire County Attorney’s Association, New Hampshire Department of Safety, New Hampshire Judicial Branch, New Hampshire Department of Justice, Child and Family Services, New Hampshire Legal Assistance, and New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and its 14 member programs: (RESPONSE to Sexual & Domestic Violence, Turning Points Network, Rape & Domestic Violence Crisis Center, Starting Point: Services for Victims of Domestic & Sexual Violence, Sexual Harassment & Rape Prevention Program, Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention, New Beginnings Women’s Crisis Center , WISE, The Support Center at Burch House, YWCA Crisis Service , Bridges: Domestic & Sexual Violence Support, Voices Against Violence, A Safe Place, Sexual Assault Support Services.)