Urge Senate Judiciary Committee Members to Vote YES on HB 2383 without amendments!

HB 2383 will be heard in Senate Judiciary TODAY!

Thank you to everyone for your advocacy over the past few weeks. HB 2383 has been placed on the Senate Judiciary agenda and will be heard in committee this afternoon. Now is the time to contact members of the Senate Judiciary and urge them to support this legislation.

However, there has been an amendment proposed to the legislation that will be harmful for survivors of domestic violence. The proposed amendment pertains to how predominant aggressor would be perceived in the family court setting. It adds language into the best interest factors language further defining the section on intentionally misleading the court. The amendment says:

IN REGARDS TO ALLEGATIONS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, A PARENT IS CONSIDERED TO HAVE INTENTIONALLY MISLED THE COURT IF THE PARENT WHO IS NAMED IN THE POLICE REPORT AS THE PREDOMINANT AGGRESSOR CAN SHOW BY A PREPONDERANCE OF EVIDENCE THAT THE PERSON WAS NOT THE PREDOMINANT AGGRESSOR. IF THE COURT CANNOT DETERMINE WHICH PARTY WAS THE PREDOMINANT AGGRESSOR, THE COURT SHALL NOT CONSIDER THE POLICE REPORT IN MAKING A DETERMINATION REGARDING LEGAL DECISION-MAKING AND PARENTING TIME.

Our main concern is legislation such as this will have a chilling effect on survivors of domestic violence and keep them from submitting evidence in family court cases for fear of losing the right to see their child if the family court does not believe them. It also holds the survivor responsible for what law enforcement put into the police report.

There is already legislation in place for family court judges to consider if someone is making false statements with the intent of persuading the court on who to give legal decision-making and parenting time. This language unjustly targets domestic violence evidence that the court already has to authority to determine its relevancy. If passed, this legislation would not catch additional “false allegations” of domestic violence but would deter domestic violence survivors from presenting any evidence as proof of the violence.

Additionally, this legislation disregards the work that would have been conducted by law enforcement officers, detectives, prosecutors and criminal court judges and asks family court judges to revisit old facts and make a determination that has already been found on the criminal court side. The family court still has the authority to determine whether or not the police report is relevant to factors in the decision on awarding legal decision-making and parenting time, but this would give them authority over issues that should have happened in criminal court.

Please contact members of the Judiciary committee immediately and urge them to vote YES on HB 2383 without the proposed amendment!

Senator Rick Murphy, chairman – rmurphy@azleg.gov
Senator Adam Driggs, vice-chairman – adriggs@azlge.gov
Senator Steve Yarbrough – syarbrough@azleg.gov
Senator Kimberly Yee – kyee@azleg.gov
Senator Nancy Barto – nbarto@azleg.gov
Senator Steve Pierce – spierce@azleg.gov
Senator Anna Tovar – atovar@azleg.gov
Senator Steve Gallardo – sgallardo@azleg.gov
Senator David Bradley – dbradley@azleg.gov

What to say in your email to committee members:
Tell them why HB 2383 is important and will be beneficial for survivors of domestic violence and why the amendment will be harmful. You can use the following talking points as a template:

  • My name is _____ and I am a [victim advocate/survivor].
  • HB 2383 (domestic violence; arrest; predominant aggressor) has bipartisan support and passed unanimously out of the House of Representatives.
  • HB 2383 is beneficial for victims of domestic violence because it will reduce the amount of dual arrests.
  • Hold perpetrators of violence accountable by arresting the predominant aggressor and further prosecuting the predominant aggressor.
  • Officers will be further trained in the ongoing pattern of abuse that many victims experience and will have the ability to not arrest a victim who may have committed a crime in self-defense; additionally this legislation does not take away the officers ability to arrest both parties if they cannot identify a predominant aggressor.
  • HB 2383 is supported by numerous law enforcement agencies across the state as well as domestic violence advocates.
  • The amendment to the legislation is harmful to survivors of domestic violence because it holds survivors of domestic violence responsible for the what an officer documents in a police report.
  • The amendment to HB 2383 is unnecessary because there are already places in Title 25 that address false claims made by either parent.
  • I urge you to support HB 2383 without amendments when it is heard in committee today.
  • Thank you for your consideration and your commitment to keeping victims safe.

Additionally, if you are able, please sign in support to HB 2383 through the Arizona State Legislature Request to Speak system, here.

Let us know if you contact committee members, or if you have any questions.

Please forward this email to your friends, and thank you for taking action!

Sincerely,
Shannon Rich
Systems Advocacy Coordinator
Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence
(602) 279-2900