SALT LAKE CITY — A proposal to strengthen protections for domestic and sexual violence victims ahead of trial advanced Monday at the Utah Capitol.
The bill from Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, provides guidance for judges, police and attorneys on the court orders designed to keep victims and their families safe ahead of a trial, Romero said. Last year, the same measure ran out of time in the final moments of the legislative session.
Monday it moved forward in an unanimous vote from the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Standing Committee.Comment on this story
Utah judges can currently order suspected domestic violence offenders not to harass victims as the case plays out in court. Romero's bill, HB19, clarifies that they can also impose no-contact orders on those accused of sexual offenses, in addition to abuse of children and vulnerable adults.
The proposal stipulates that if a prosecutor doesn't file charges within 30 days of an arrest, the no-contact directive would expire. It also makes it clear that a judge can hand down a no-contact order that allows for visits with kids under the age of 18.
Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, qualified his support. He said he had concerns the bill could complicate or conflict with divorce proceedings, which may occur at the same time.
The measure goes to the full Senate.