Wednesday, July 2, 2008

New Domestic Violence Law

By Associated Press
A bill that expands Florida's domestic violence laws to cover dating relationships is signed into law by Governor Charlie Crist.

The governor signed the Barwick-Ruschak Act during a ceremony at the Capitol.

The law is named after Tiffany Barwick and Michael Ruschak, two University of Central Florida students who were killed last year at a barbecue. Barwick's boyfriend, Andrew Allred, has pleaded guilty to both murders and awaits sentencing. He could face the death penalty.

Barwick reportedly tried to get help from law enforcement but was told there wasn't much they could do. She was told to file a police report and to surround herself with friends for protection.
She was killed before she had a chance to file a report.

The victim's families were at today's bill signing.

The new law will give law officers more latitude dealing with cases of dating violence. Officers will be able to make a warrantless arrest in such cases if there is probable cause.

The law will also provide assistance to victims of dating violence, including medical treatment and information about domestic violence centers.

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