Governor Jack Markell, Attorney General Beau Biden and other state officials today praised advocates for their hard work helping domestic violence survivors, declaring October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Delaware.
“We should not and will not tolerate domestic violence in Delaware,” Governor Markell said. “Behind all the numbers are real people, whose lives are impacted and whose voices are not always heard. The goal of this month is to say ‘speak up, speak out’ because this must not continue. We must protect victims, hold offenders accountable and break the dangerous cycle of violence.”
“I’m proud that our efforts this past year to enact tough laws against strangulation and to extend Protection From Abuse orders put Delaware on the leading edge of protecting women and their families from the destruction of domestic violence,” Attorney General Biden stated. “The coordinated effort among legislators, law enforcement, government agencies, community members, and advocates to put an end to these crimes is representative of what’s best about our state. Though we’ve made great strides since the Violence Against Women Act was enacted 16 years ago, domestic violence still occurs far too often, whether in the form of emotional trauma, broken bones, or homicide. Our fight to protect these innocent victims and punish their abusers never ends.”
Biden has made standing up for domestic violence victims a top priority since taking office four years ago. He created a Family Division within the Department of Justice to focus exclusively on crimes against women, children, the elderly, and the abused. This year his office worked with the Governor and legislators to give survivors of domestic violence stronger legal protections. Under House Bill 336, the length of Protection From Abuse orders at least doubles — to two years — and in some cases, survivors can receive lifetime protection orders. Senate Bill 197 creates a stand-alone felony crime of strangulation, which is a leading indicator of domestic violence deaths, and allows prosecutors to seek prison terms for abusers.