Exposing children to domestic violence considered a crime in Marysville
Committing domestic violence in front of a child is now a separate crime in one local city.
Since witnessing domestic violence puts children at risk of long-term physical and mental health problems, the Marysville City Council has voted to make it an additional option for charges.
The council unanimously approved an ordinance that creates a separate crime for individuals who commit an act of domestic violence that is witnessed by a minor child.
“Domestic violence is a serious problem and is particularly damaging to children who are exposed to it,” Jennifer Millet told the council.
Millet and Elisabeth Gribble, the city’s prosecuting attorneys, worked together to forward this recommendation.
Convictions for exposing a minor to domestic violence will come with a minimum 15-day jail sentence that can be waived or reduced by a judge for mitigating factors. The ordinance also includes a non-merger clause that permits a domestic violence offender to be held accountable for both the underlying crime and the damage caused by exposing a child to domestic violence.
“In witnessing a crime of domestic violence, the child is a victim and should be treated as such,” wrote City Attorney Jon Walker.
According to the Office on Women’s Health of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, children who live in homes in which domestic violence has happened at least once are at greater risk of repeating the cycle as adults.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Find more information and resources online here.