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Legislation Aimed at Reducing Domestic Violence

Abuse-Domestic(SPRINGFIELD, Mass.) (WGGB)–A bill filed on Beacon Hill would make Massachusetts one of the strongest states in the nation in dealing with domestic violence.

The bill was unveiled by House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Attorney General Martha Coakley.

Work on the legislation began after Jared Remy was arrested last August and charged with the fatal stabbing of his girlfriend Jennifer Martel.

Remy is the son of Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy.

The case has prompted questions about whether Remy’s history of domestic violence was overlooked or if he’d been treated too leniently by the criminal justice system in the past.

Mary Readon Johnson is the Executive Director of the YWCA of Western Massachusetts.

She says domestic violence is a huge problem,”We’re also seeing pretty horrendous incidents of domestic violence and how the system doesn’t quite have it down like the Remy case, says Reardon Johnson.

The new bill would delay bail for domestic battery suspects giving victims more time to find safe places to stay,  toughen penalties for offenders and require judges to undergo more training around domestic violence issues.

So why don’t more women come forward when they’re abused,”A lot of people say why don’t women leave and the reason is they’re frightened many feel they can’t call,” says the YWCA’s executive director.

Mary Reardon Johnson emphasizes that it’s important for victims to know agencies like the YWCA are there to help them find safe places  away from abusers,” Every time there’s an interview it triggers some thoughts in some women’s heads  that it might make them think it’s time to call and we want them to make that call and let them know we’ll be here,” says Reardon Johnson.

To emphasize how serious this domestic violence problem is the YWCA says its hotline gets 8-thousand calls a year and its battered women’s shelter is 99 percent full.

The YWCA’s 24-hour hotline is (413) 733-7100 or (800) 796-8711.



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