(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) – Major legislation to protect victims of domestic violence will take effect on Sunday, July 1 as Tennessee begins a new fiscal year. The new law, sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown), was supported by various victims’ rights groups across the state.
The enactment of the legislation comes as the Violence Policy Center released a new study this week showing Tennessee ranks fourth in the nation for the rate at which men kill women in domestic-related homicides.
“Domestic violence is a serious problem in Tennessee that must be addressed,” said Sen. Kelsey. “Under this new law, when a hearing takes place, the victim will not be required to testify against a perpetrator with whom they may have a very close relationship. This can be a very difficult thing for these victims to do.”
The legislation provides two ways to increase victim safety when a court finds there is probable cause to believe an alleged abuser either caused serious bodily injury to a victim of domestic abuse or used or displayed a deadly weapon. It amends Tennessee’s bond conditions statute to require the court or magistrate in these circumstances to impose a twelve-hour holding period, provide notification to the victim, and issue a no contact order as a condition of bail.
“It gives judges the discretion to make those no contact orders part of the conditions for release on bond,” Kelsey added. “This new law helps protect domestic violence victims from harm and hopefully saves many lives. I am very pleased that our General Assembly supported its passage and enactment.”