On February 29, 2016, members of the Maine Commission on Domestic and Sexual Abuse presented a report to the legislature detailing the state of Batterers' Intervention Programs (BIPs) in Maine. The report is the result of LD 150, a legislative resolve to study the use of BIPs in both pre-trial and post-conviction cases in Maine.
Each year, nearly 50 percent of homicides in Maine are the result of domestic violence.
Changing that statistic is a top priority for MCEDV, and we support policy efforts that will help curb the number of domestic violence homicides. Recent initiatives include:
MCEDV co-chaired the Maine Commission on Domestic and Sexual Abuse task force on risk assessment in the management of domestic violence crimes, along with Violence Intervention Partnership Director Faye Luppi. The task force’s report informed the Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety of the Maine Legislature's deliberations on LD 1711, introduced by Rep. Emily Cain. Maine passed legislation requiring that an evidence-based, validated risk assessment tool be used in the management of domestic violence criminal offenses and provided for a training pathway for law enforcement personnel. Final legislation was signed into law May 21, 2012. The Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment (ODARA) was selected as the risk assessment tool of choice, and went into use by law enforcement officers statewide on January 1, 2015. MCEDV took a leadership role in preparing Maine's law enforcement community to use ODARA. The Coalition continues to support the implementation of ODARA and other risk assessment strategiues throughout Maine.
MCEDV has been working on improving Maine’s response to strangulation assaults for several years. MCEDV chaired the Maine Commission on Domestic and Sexual Abuse task force on strangulation, which issued a report with recommendations for changes in statute, policy and practice. In addition, MCEDV conducted a statewide survey of strangulation victims to inform discussions on the impact of strangulation assault on women in Maine. Governor LePage included the recommended language on strangulation into his bill on improvements in the management of bail for domestic violence offenders (LD 1867, An Act to Protect Victims of Domestic Violence), sponsored by Rep. Emily Cain and signed into law April 17, 2012. For more information, visit the task force’s work site.