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Ohio Legislature Consider New Protections For Domestic Violence Survivors

Ohio Senate
State Sen. Kevin Bacon, left, introduces the "Reagan Tokes Act" at the Ohio Statehouse.

Ohio saw 91 fatalities related to domestic violence from July 2017 to June 2018, according to a recent report out of Ohio Domestic Violence Network.

Ohio Senate Bill 207 aims to address domestic violence by categorizing non-fatal strangulation or suffocation as a felonious assault. Currently, Ohio is one of several states that recognizes strangulation as a misdemeanor.

According to the Ohio Domestic Violence Network, a victim who survives strangulation from their partner is seven times more likely to be killed by that partner.

State Senate judiciary committee chair Kevin Bacon (R-Westerville) says the bill would help identify offenders who might engage in further domestic violence.

"It’s important because the whole idea is to single out those offenders who are strangling," Bacon said. "An offender who does engage in strangulation is more likely to re-offend than many other typical assaults."

Bacon says he hopes to get the bill passed and on Gov. John Kasich’s desk by the end of the year.

"I’m very passionate about the fact that this is a good bill, and something we need to do to help victims of violent crime," Bacon said. 

The legislature is also considering a bill that could shield domestic violence victims from lawsuits meant to intimidate them from speaking out.