New domestic violence-related rules take effect in North Carolina
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Sections of two laws regarding domestic violence take effect today, Dec. 1, in North Carolina. One requires DNA samples to be collected for more offenses, and the other gives judges the ability to extend a domestic violence protective order in certain circumstances.
Session Law 2022-50 was signed on July 7 by Governor Roy Cooper. DNA samples are required to be collected from people convicted of or found not guilty by insanity of certain crimes. Section 1 of the act, which has now gone into effect, adds the following offenses to that list:
- Assault on a female by a male person at least 18 years of age;
- Assault on a child under the age of 12 years;
- All offenses described in G.S. 50B-4.1.; this includes violations of protective orders.
Also on July 7, Cooper signed Jordan’s Law, which allows for judges to temporarily renew a domestic violence protective order in certain situations. If a hearing for renewing a domestic violence protective order is scheduled for a date after the current order is set to expire, then a judge can temporarily renew the existing order given they receive an ex parte application from the plaintiff.
This could extend the order either to the date of the renewal hearing or 30 days from the date of expiration, whichever happens first.
Locally, Wilmington’s Domestic Violence Shelter and Services is constantly working to improve services for those in need. They have their public location, The Open Gate, for some services and educational opportunities. Direct Services and Outreach Director Mandy Houvouras said the organization also hopes to reopen a permanent shelter next year after the previous facility was damaged by Hurricane Florence in 2018.
Houvouras said in addition to new legislation, providing resources to victims of domestic violence has to be a community-wide effort.
“We’re often asked, why don’t you just leave? And I think it’s OK to ask, ‘why don’t you leave? What are the barriers that are keeping you there?’ So that we can understand how to help remove those barriers,” Houvouras said. “If it was simple to leave, then people would. No one wants to live in fear and terror.”
Anyone in need of help can contact the 24-hour crisis line at 910-343-0703.
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