- Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 May 2012 15:14
- Written by The Times Weekly
- Category: State News
State Senator Pat McGuire's (D-Joliet) work to crack down on domestic violence has cleared an important hurdle by passing the Senate Criminal Law Committee. House Bill 4637 is the first piece of McGuire-sponsored legislation to advance to the Senate floor.
"Domestic violence destroys families," McGuire said. "Nearly one in four women and one in ten men are physically assaulted or raped by their spouses or significant others. Children exposed to such violence are at high risk of school and social problems. Domestic violence also is a recurring problem. Studies show that 40 to 80% of the people who commit domestic violence do so more than once. "
McGuire's bill, developed in cooperation with Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow, creates a scale of increasing penalties for repeat domestic violence offenders. An offender's first conviction for domestic battery would remain a Class A misdemeanor as under current law. The second and third convictions would be Class 4 felonies. The fourth conviction would be a Class 3 felony, and the fifth conviction would be a Class 2 felony. Each higher felony brings with it increased jail time.
"Tougher penalties for those who repeatedly harm their wives, girlfriends, children, husbands, and boyfriends should be a deterrent," McGuire said. "In addition, the longer jail terms remove the abuser from the victim's life, giving the victim the time and break needed to gain lasting safety."
House Bill 4637 has already passed the Illinois House 116-0. The bill is expected to be voted on by the full Senate later this month.