July 01, 2015

Maine Domestic Violence

A new law will go into effect in Maine this October that provides critical protection for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. The legislation was enacted on June 30 after the Maine House and Senate unanimously overrode a veto of the bill by Gov. Paul LePage. The bill was one of numerous bills that the governor vetoed during a standoff with the legislature over state budget issues; the other vetoes also were overridden. The new law’s provisions include prompt access to the criminal and civil justice system by victims and prohibit landlords from evicting tenants because of instances of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. The law also imposes liability on perpetrators for certain damages. In a statement submitted in May for a hearing held by the Maine Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on the Judiciary, ABA President William C. Hubbard expressed the ABA’s support for expanding housing protections for victims of domestic and sexual abuse and stalking. “Without access to viable long-term housing, survivors must choose between homelessness and returning to violent and abusive situations,” Hubbard said.

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