At the State Capitol today, Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker promoted legislation designed to curb domestic violence, an evil that tears at the very heart of Georgia’s families. “Georgia already has some of the toughest laws against violent crime in the country,” says Baker, “and there is no reason we shouldn’t have laws that are just as tough when it comes to acts of domestic violence. Baker’s bill, which he first sponsored as a member of the General Assembly, defines new crimes of “family violence” and imposes minimum mandatory jail terms for individuals convicted of these crimes. According to Baker, “If you want to make a person change their ways, you’ve got to get their attention, and making people who abuse family members and commit other acts of family violence spend time in a jail cell will certainly get their attention.”

“Family violence” crimes include assault and battery between past or present spouses, persons who are parents of the same child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children, or other persons living or formerly living in the same household. The bill also provides for longer sentences when the victims of family violence are 65 years of age or older.

Baker, who has made the fight against domestic violence a priority of his since his appointment as Attorney General in June of 1997, urged Atlanta citizens to let their legislators know just how they feel about this issue. “If we truly want to do something about the evils of domestic violence, it is critical that this legislation pass. Call or write your representatives today and tell them you expect them to support the “Crimes Against Family Members Act of 1998.”