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Domestic abuse now reclassified as a violent crime in Oklahoma

Posted at 9:50 PM, Nov 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-01 22:50:52-05

As of November 1st, Oklahoma's list of violent crimes expanded to include four domestic abuse charges.

Governor Kevin Stitt signed a bill in May defining the four domestic abuse charges.

Because of how House Bill 3251 redefined domestic abuse, the domestic violence offender could now face more prison time if convicted.

The bill reclassifies four domestic abuse charges, including domestic abuse by strangulation and assault with a dangerous weapon, as violent crimes.

This change is not reflected in State Question 805, a decision 2020 ballot measure to toss away sentence enhancements for nonviolent crimes.

Leigh Winn is a domestic violence survivor and advocate for others like her.

Winn tells us while she appreciates the criminal reclassification, she says the debate over State Question 805 gets away from what really matters.

“It has nothing to do with jail or prison or prison records or anything else. It has everything to do with protecting people", Winn says.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 49% of Oklahoma women experience abuse.

Winn says there are so many survivors' stories that never come to light and the ones that do come forward are often lost in the court system.

She is calling for domestic protective order revision and more state resources for survivors to turn to.

“It’s really hard to leave that person and it’s really hard to see justice for that person, because there’s never going to be anything that can give you back everything you and your family lost", Winn says.

Winn tells us she is working to put together a domestic violence support group.

In Tulsa, victims of abuse can contact the Domestic Violence Intervention Services crisis text line at 833-338-5763.

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