Utah lawmakers discussing multiple domestic violence bills to protect victims

Feb 7, 2023, 9:57 PM | Updated: Feb 8, 2023, 12:51 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — A domestic violence amendment bill has made it one step closer to reaching the governor’s desk.

SB117 passed out of the House committee Tuesday afternoon.

A large crowd showed up to hear about the bill and from its supporters. Many of them shared stories that may be familiar to you.

“If bill 117 had been in place, it may have saved Mandy’s life.”

Amanda “Mandy” Mayne, cousin of Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, was killed by her ex-husband last August.

“If they had given her the assessment, she would’ve answered yes to many of the questions, and would’ve been recognized as being at high risk,” said Shauna Mayne, Mandy’s mother.

After her cousin was killed by an ex, Utah’s Lt. Gov. says Utah must take action on domestic violence

Mayne’s mother is referring to lethality assessment protocol, or LAP.

SB117 would require police across the state to use the same set of 11 yes or no questions with intimate partners involved in domestic violence cases.

“By having everyone that’s responding using same language, same levels of risk, survivors know where to go, where to get help,” said Jennifer Campbell, executive director of the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition.

The Utah Domestic Violence Coalition said uniform measures across the state are necessary.

“Having a coordinated process between law enforcement and community-based victim service providers is vitally important to survivors,” Campbell said.

HB199, which is voluntary firearm safekeeping amendments, was scheduled to be heard in the committee, but was pulled last minute.

“I thought we were really close, I thought we were there, we had an agreement and some concerns were brought up,” said Rep. Paul Cutler, R-Centerville.

Cutler said gun rights advocates and victims advocates are coming back to the table to discuss issues.

“Many people like me who support the second amendment want to help solve our domestic violence problem with firearms.”

He said the point of contention is with making sure there’s due process for someone accused of domestic violence while protecting their second amendment right.

“When emotions are high, when people are angry, that’s when we want to find a way to keep firearms away from people making bad decisions,” Cutler said.

Cutler and other lawmakers said they want Utahns to know they’re working to reduce domestic violence and gun violence.

“We’re trying hard to make that happen,” Cutler said.

Lawmakers also talked about elevating one of the questions asked during the lethality assessment. It’s the question of if the aggressor in a domestic violence situation ever tried to choke the victim. They said it should be in the top three questions asked to victims.

Domestic violence resources

If you or someone you know is going through abuse, help is available.

  • Utah Domestic Violence Coalition operates a confidential statewide, 24-hour domestic abuse hotline at 1-800-897-LINK (5465).
  • Resources are also available online at the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition website.

There are several ways the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition can help people. Previous examples include providing financial assistance for funerals, for moving, for a variety of things, counseling that help people find a different path or stay healthy and safe and the relationship they’re in.

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Utah lawmakers discussing multiple domestic violence bills to protect victims