JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri lawmakers unanimously approved legislation to extend restraining orders from one year in length to life-long.
Previously, victims would have to renew restraining orders yearly, meaning they could be facing their abusers in court each time they needed to have the restraining order approved.
Now, Missouri judges can issue life-long restraining orders to keep these survivors from having to face their abusers to renew their restraining order.
Shelly Drymon, Director of Development of the Victim Center in Springfield, says this will be a relief to victims, “I think this really eases a barrier that a lot of victims see with this process. If you have to renew an order of protection, that’s a barrier right there. You have to tell your story again; you possibly have to go back to court; you possibly have to come face to face with the offender again.”
This new legislation also covers victims’ pets, allowing victims to name their pets in the restraining order.
“I know a lot of people don’t think about that. They usually think like, ‘Oh I’ll take your money away, I’ll take your personal possessions away, I’ll lock you out of the house, but a pet is just a part of so many people’s families that it would be devasting, especially to the children, I believe,” says Drymon.
The new law will go into effect on August 28th.