Senator Jane Nelson
P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
Fax (512) 463-0923

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 21, 2003
Contact: Dave Nelson
(512) 463-0112

Bills to Help Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Victims Faring Well

AUSTIN - - The Texas House yesterday gave final approval of legislation authored by State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville, to assist victims of sexual assault. SB 433 allows judges to grant protective orders, even in cases in which the applicant has no prior relationship with the assailant.

"Under current law, if a college student is sexually assaulted they are not allowed to seek a protective order unless the perpetrator is someone with whom they have had a prior relationship. In cases of date rape on college campuses, under current law a victim could be forced to live in the same housing area as her attacker under constant threat," Senator Nelson said. "By expanding the criteria for protective orders, we can ensure that these individuals can receive the protection they need from our courts."

Also faring well in the House is SB 176, filed by Senator Nelson to give law enforcement an extra tool to pursue cases against domestic abusers. The bill - which has passed the Senate and is expected to be approved by the House later this week - expands a criminal offense for interfering with an emergency call to include instances when the victim is "in fear of imminent danger." The crime is a Class A misdemeanor with penalties of up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine not to exceed $4,000.

"We hear the word terror used a lot these days. There are thousands of Texans living in terror every day, and I believe we can turn the tables on domestic abusers through strong legislation," Senator Nelson said.

Senator Nelson represents Senate District 12, which includes the communities of northern Tarrant and southern Denton counties and parts of the city of Fort Worth.

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