Abuse Victims Fined?!
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The Doctors discuss a controversial new law that fines domestic violence victims for not pressing charges.
A federal lawsuit has been filed against Columbus, Georgia’s policy of collecting a fee from alleged victims of domestic violence, who do not partake in the prosecution of their alleged abusers. If the alleged victim does not help prosecute the case, the city charges them an administrative fee of at least $50 dollars. If the alleged victim does not pay the fee, they are threatened with an arrest. The lawsuit says the money is used to account for the cost of police time spent investigating cases that do not move forward.
Attorney Areva Martin slams the policy, saying she wishes the money would be used for support groups, therapy and help for victims.
With 80 to 90 percent of alleged victims not willing to testify against their alleged abusers – often times out of fear – The Doctors wonder how we can create safe environments where people feel comfortable coming forward.
“First, we change the culture and we don’t penalize the victim, which this law does,” Areva says, explaining that most of these people fear retaliation and further violence. She notes that just because the alleged victim will not testify does not mean the state can’t still prosecute.
“This process of victimizing the victim is ridiculous!” she adds.
If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.