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New bill aims to help curb domestic violence

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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla._Governor Mary Fallin has signed a new bill that aims to cut down on what some are calling an epidemic of domestic violence in the state.

It instructs officers to use a 'lethality assessment protocol’ which includes a series of questions for the victim. The questions are designed to help determine the potential for danger.

According to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, police officers in four of Oklahoma's largest cities responded to a domestic violence call every 8 minutes and 45 seconds each day in 2012. Lawton was one of the cities with the most reported cases.

Compared to Norman, Lawton has roughly the same population but with significantly more reports at 1,431 compared to Norman's 423 reports.

"I believe that a lot of that may come from the influx of the military coming in and then...we go to things out at Fort Sill all the time," said Kerrie Mathews of the Marie Detty Woman’s Shelter.

Mathews says experiencing violence during childhood can contribute also.

“We also take cases in from other places, like if a person comes, they may come in from Oklahoma City, so that would be part of our numbers also," explained Matthews.

Mathews also states that victims need to always seek help immediately.

"Well there is help available. If people see someone being physically hurt or if something happens, then to step in, and say 'Look, this cannot happen any longer'," said Matthews.

The new law will go into effect November 1. The bill's author says this type of analysis is already being used by police departments in Oklahoma City and Tulsa.


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