Many cities, counties and states across the U.S. are feeling increasing pressure to reduce local budgets and cut costs. Public safety programs in particular have taken the brunt of these cuts, with firefighter and police presence being gouged to save staffing costs.
Kansas is going a step further. Finding some crimes too costly to move through the legal system, one county has decided it will no longer prosecute misdemeanors, including domestic violence. The county legislators’ assumption was that the cities would pay for the prosecution themselves. But Topeka, Kansas, has chosen to take a different approach, and is considering just no longer making domestic violence a crime. The city council is now meeting to discuss “repealing the part of the code that bans domestic battery.”
Ending the prosecution of domestic violence would not only leave women open to increased physical violence in the future, as there would be no repercussions for a partner’s abusive actions, but could potentially mean the harm or even death of the women whose abusers are currently in the system and will be released rather than prosecuted, which Fox News states total at least 30.
As one former abuse victim stated bluntly, “They need to invest in headstones, because these women are going to end up in cemeteries.”
Is a woman’s health and life worth so much less than a balanced local budget? As Feministing puts it, “Thanks, austerity!”
Photo credit: Prashanthns, via wikimedia commons
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