On a regular basis here at HAVEN, our responsibility is to help our clients be well-informed of their options and the resources available to them as they face difficult circumstances.
One thing we wrestle with quite often, however, might not be what you expect. It’s fear.
Our clients are often leaving or trying to leave difficult situations where there’s been abuse of many kinds. Just leaving their situation is a huge step. But pursuing criminal charges or a protective order is another step that can be frightening.
Why? Their abuser will be notified if charges are filed or a protective order is sought, and the fear of retribution is real.
Imagine you or your spouse or child was a victim of domestic violence, or even a random act of violence. Wouldn’t you like to be notified of every step of your attacker’s court appearances, any release times, even escape from prison?
Marsy’s Law is designed to do that, and it is on this November’s ballot as one of six constitutional amendments North Carolinians are asked to vote on.
Originally filed as House Bill 551, it received bipartisan support in the both the N.C. Senate and N.C. House when it was passed in June 2018, putting the following question on this year’s ballot: FOR or AGAINST “Constitutional amendment to strengthen protections for victims of crime, to establish certain, absolute basic rights for victims, and to ensure the enforcement of these rights.”
Among other things, Marsy’s Law changes state statute to give victims the constitutional right to, upon request:
- “Reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of court proceedings of the accused.”
- “Be reasonably heard at…any court proceeding involving the plea, conviction, adjudication, sentencing or release of the accused.”
- “Receive restitution in a reasonably timely manner, when ordered by the court.”
- “Be present at court proceedings of the accused.”
Kyle Taylor, one of HAVEN’s court advocates, is featured on marsyslawfornc.com explaining the need for the amendment. Kyle was interviewed while working at S.A.F.E. of Harnett County earlier this year.