Allow victims of domestic abuse the freedom to relocate to another state.
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Domestic abuse is a very serious problem. Unfortunately, many times the victims of domestic abuse lose their lives and/or the lives of their children as well. The way the laws are set up in many states are not helping in regards to keeping the victims safe from their abusers. Orders of protection are a nice thought, but criminals rarely follow the law and often these orders are broken by the abuser and not enforced by the local government and law enforcement. Many states also require that in order to relocate to another state, that the petitioner abide by a set of criteria in order to get the judge to grant the relocation. In situations where there is or has been a history of domestic abuse, this creates a potentially deadly problem. For example, in Commercial Township, New Jersey, Tara O’Shea-Watson was a victim of domestic abuse for many years. She was denied by a judge to relocate with her children, the sad result is that Tara ended up losing her life, her abuser killed her. In regards to the laws concerning relocation, the current procedure in many states requires the burden of providing evidence as to the reason for relocating with children on the part of the petitioner. The respondent then has the right to dispute the relocation, this needs to change. The law needs to change to not allow a person convicted of domestic battery the right to dispute a relocation of their victim. This ability by the abuser to dispute a relocation puts the abuser in the position of having control of their victim, which is exactly what abusers want. Relocation for abuse victims should not have to have a hearing for as long as the record shows the domestic abuse conviction of the abuser towards that victim. Hearings for relocation are at the discretion of a judge and an abuser many times over knows how to play the system. An abuse victim should be able to relocate with their children to help ensure the safety of their lives as well as their children's lives. Many lives can be potentially saved by changing the laws to allow abuse victims the right to get their children and themselves away from a dangerous individual.
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