Children's advocates hopeful about domestic violence legislation - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Children's advocates hopeful proposed legislation will help stop domestic violence

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One group of lawmakers is taking a look at solving a problem which affects one in four women at some point in their lifetime.

New legislation could crack down on perpetrators of domestic violence.

Here in Sioux Falls, Children's Inn helps survivors of domestic abuse.

Administrators there told us they're excited about what this legislation could mean for the children they see everyday.

Child abuse is not always physical. Children's Inn's Amy Carter said kids who witness domestic violence in their home also suffer.

"Some children become more withdrawn, and more aggressive. Other children become more aggressive. Often times, males who witness that in their home, that abuse, they become aggressors and perpetrators themselves of domestic violence," Carter said.

This legislative session, some state leaders propose six new laws to hold those perpetrators of abuse more accountable when children are involved.

Republican State Senator Deb Soholt said "it doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, or in between, domestic abuse exists. It's important for a fair and just state that we would have protections for all people."

"If you can get children out of those homes and hold perpetrators accountable when they are younger and at those young ages, we can break that cycle of violence," Carter said.

Which is why many children's advocates hope the laws pass.

"I think any legislation that is going to hold perpetrators more accountable and not let them get a way with things, not only our victims, the women that we see, but their children, so any time you have a tougher law, that is going to benefit children and their long term outcomes. I think is a wonderful idea," Carter said.

and lawmakers hope expanding the definition of domestic violence will make that possible.

"Anything that is going to hold that perpetrator accountable and give that victims more safety and options, we're going to be in support of those things so if we can define it better, that helps judges, that helps prosecutors, all of those things, certainly in the end is going to be better for victims as well," Carter said.

Children's Inn is a place where children who've witnessed or experienced abuse can realize they're not alone. 

It lets kids be kids, and helps their mom's get the support and counseling they need.

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