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Mass. Senate Passes Domestic Violence Bill

Abuse-Domestic2BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Senate has passed a bill to provide new protections for victims of domestic violence.

The measure passed unanimously on Thursday increases penalties for strangulation and adds other protections for victims, including unpaid leave from work in some circumstances.

Senate President Therese Murray urged the House to take up the bill “in a timely manner.”

The bill makes strangulation a separate felony, and increases penalties for serious harm, assaulting a pregnant woman or repeat offenders.

It also increases penalties for repeat restraining order violators, and eliminates a law allowing courts to dismiss domestic violence charges if both parties agree in writing.

The bill requires employers of 50 or more workers to allow up to 15 days unpaid leave for victims who can provide documentation. They may require workers to use other leave time first.