Okla. stiffens victim protection laws

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- According to the YWCA, more than 25,000 cases of domestic violence were reported in Oklahoma in the past year.

The experts said one in four women will be a victim of domestic violence.

Oklahoma ranks 17th in the nation for the number of women killed by men.

There are some important changes with the Victim Protection Order laws in Oklahoma for victims of domestic violence.

"Anybody who believes they are a victim of domestic violence needs to reach out and get help," attorney Robert Gray said. "There are some very good resources out there."

Nov. 1, the Oklahoma statute regarding a V.P.O. got a stiffer.

Instead of a three-year maximum for a court-ordered protection order, Oklahoma now has increased the max to five years.

In extreme cases, involving a convicted stalker or a defendant who has violated a V.P.O. multiple times, Oklahoma courts now offer a continuous or lifetime V.P.O. 

According to federal law, a person with a V.P.O. in place against them cannot own or purchase a weapon.

"There are instances where a judge has ordered surrender of weapons to the sheriff's office," Gray said. "That does happen, has happened, and will continue to happen."

Judges deny 15 to 20 percent of V.P.O. requests because of lack of evidence, even more are denied because they do not meet statutory requirements.

According to domestic violence experts, nearly 75 percent of victims know their stalker.

Only one in 10 stalking victims is harassed by a stranger.

The YWCA of Oklahoma City offers 24-hour assistance to victims of domestic violence.

If you are not in danger and need non-emergency assistance, the following help is available:

  • YWCA Domestic Violence Hotline: 405.917.9922 (YWCA)
  • YWCA Sexual Assault Hotline: 405.943.7273 (RAPE)
  • Oklahoma State SafeLine: 800.522.7233 (SAFE)

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