UPDATE: House Bill 2526 was approved by the governor and will go into effect on Nov. 1, 2014.
OKLAHOMA CITY - Officers may soon be armed with a different weapon to save the lives of domestic violence victims, questions.
House Bill 2526, which unanimously passed the state Senate on Tuesday, creates a series of researched-based questions that law enforcement officers will ask victims.
Sen. David Holt, who authored the bill, points to one study that says Oklahoma has the third highest rate in the country of women being murdered by men.
Holt said, "That's unacceptable."
One question officers will ask to a domestic violence victim is, "Has this person ever used a weapon against you or threatened you with a weapon?"
According to the YWCA, if she answers 'yes,' that woman is 20 times more likely to be murdered than the average victim.
The answers will help officers determine the future threat level, so the victim can be directed to the appropriate shelter or service.
Another question officers will ask is, "Has this person threatened to kill you or your children?"
If she answers 'yes,' then that victim is 14 times more at risk of being murdered.
Kristie Mitchell, Chief Programs Officer at the YWCA, said, "The next highest is strangulation and when we look at that, [women who have been choked are] about 10 times more likely to die in that situation."
She added, "Being strangled is like having a gun to your head. It's a very lethal act of violence."
The fourth highest murder rate involves this question, "Is this person violently or constantly jealous, or does this person control most of your daily activities?"
A 'yes' answer means their risk level of being killed is 9.2 times greater than the average victim.
Mitchell said, "When a person is morbidly jealous, they oftentimes are escalated to violence."
A full list of the questions is as follows:
- Has the person ever used a weapon against the victim or threatened the victim with a weapon?
- Has the person threatened to kill the victim or children of the victim?
- Does the victim think the person will try to kill the victim?
- Has the person ever tried to choke the victim?
- Is the person violently or constantly jealous or does the person control most of the daily activities of the victim?
- Has the victim left or separated from the person after living together or being married?
- Is the person unemployed?
- Has the person ever tried to kill himself or herself?
- Does the victim have a child that the person knows is not his or her own child?
- Does the person follow or spy on the victim or leave the victim threatening messages?
- Is there anything else that worries the victim about his or her safety and if so, what worries the victim?
HB 2526 now advances to the governor's desk for consideration.