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Stricter laws aim to end domestic violence

SPRINGFIELD -- State leaders hope to stop domestic violence.
SPRINGFIELD -- State leaders hope to stop domestic violence. Studies show one in four women will be a victim at some point in her life. WCIA-3's Ashley Michels keeps us Connected to the Capitol.

"Anytime there's stricter punishment for crimes, hopefully people will take a second thought process before they commit them."

That's the idea behind the state's latest push to get rid of domestic violence. A new law stiffens the penalties for abusers.

Now, it's a felony if someone commits the crime more than once. Repeat offenders could spend up to 14-years behind bars.

Angela Bertoni runs the Sojourn Shelter for victims of domestic violence. She says, with more than 100,000 victims in Illinois each year, it's about time the state cracks down.

"This will have probably a profound impact on people repeating their offenses."

It's something Bertoni says is key since repeat violence happens all too often.

"Unfortunately they say that a person usually returns five-to-seven times before they decide to leave."

It's not just adults.

"I think, more than ever today, we are seeing teens impacted."

That's why, starting this year, schools will have to teach kids about teen dating violence and have a support plan in place for teen victims.

"Violence is a cyclical process, so if we can get in at the adolescence years and teach them a model of behavior that is good, then I think it will have profound effects on the amount of domestic violence in the future."

One other change to domestic violence laws includes more security for victims. There are new safeguards in place to keep a victim's address and phone number away from the abuser.
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