Bills introduced to prevent Michigan domestic violence, support survivors

Rep. Padma Kuppa (D-Troy) and members of the House Progressive Women's Caucus. - Photo via House Democrats
Photo via House Democrats
Rep. Padma Kuppa (D-Troy) and members of the House Progressive Women's Caucus.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month
 may have come to a close, but efforts in Michigan to prevent violence and protect survivors are ongoing.

State representatives from the Progressive Women's Caucus have unveiled a package of bills to help survivors of domestic violence or stalking get back on their feet by adding eviction protections, and making stalking a reason to use paid leave.

Rep. Padma Kuppa, D-Troy, noted Michigan and communities across the U.S. have seen sharp increases in domestic violence during the pandemic.

"Had the Legislature acted to pass a very similar package of bills in 2019, we could have been ready," Kuppa pointed out. "We cannot afford to wait any longer. The men and women from all walks of life who are abused can't afford to wait."

She added the bills would also extend privacy protections to adult victims as well as minors, and encourage law enforcement and prosecutors to actively engage and initiate outreach with victim service agencies.

Nakira Howard of Detroit, who said she left an abusive relationship earlier this year, had to navigate a system completely unfamiliar to her while she was working full-time. She said some of the pending proposals would have been a great help to her, and many other survivors of similar experiences.

"I feared falling behind on my rent," Howard recounted. "The pandemic was already true and something we were surviving, and I was too fearful to ask my landlord for any breaks during my recovery. And I pushed myself to work, even in not the best mental state."

In 2019, more than 57,000 reports of domestic violence were made to Michigan police departments.

Health and safety officials urge Michiganders facing domestic violence to find more information on local help services, or call the National Domestic Violence Helpline at 1-800-799-7233.

Originally published on November 1, 2021 on Michigan News Connection. It is shared here with permission.

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