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One big change that has attracted major concern is the removal of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence and stalking from a list of offenses that can subject an offender to be held without bail until he or she sees a judge.
“The Coalition does not take a position on this bill. However, to specifically exclude the crime of misdemeanor domestic violence assault from this proposal ignores the reality that domestic violence is the most dangerous crime in New Hampshire,” said Alyssa Dandrea, community relations specialist with the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.
“The majority of homicides in our state are committed by domestic violence offenders, who escalate over time. The act of domestic violence is most commonly charged as a misdemeanor-level offense in our state, so most people charged with this highly lethal crime would continue to go before a bail commissioner, not a judge.”
According to legal advocates, few are charged with felony domestic violence and that means many of the misdemeanor offenses involve serious domestic assaults.
November 18, 2023
On Wednesday, Nicole Kipphut testified on behalf of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence in front of a legislative committee led by State Sen. Rebecca Whitley, a Hopkinton Democrat.
With a unique perspective both as a survivor and an advocate, Kipphut told Whitley that closure doesn’t come with sentencing or prison time. For some, it doesn’t come at all, but preparing for a parole hearing where most often offenders are granted early release is an extensive, draining process that can retraumatize victims, she said.
“Victims do not necessarily feel closure at conviction, in fact, trauma is often ongoing and closure may occur at any point during the criminal justice process, from arrest to post-incarceration, and in some cases, closure may never happen,” Kipphut said. “There is no moment where victims automatically feel safe or healed.”
October 30, 2023
Nicole Kipphut of Concord says the Adult Parole Board system often comes up short for victims, which she has seen from both sides — as a survivor of child sexual abuse and a healer to hundreds of others who endured their own trauma.
Lyn Schollett, executive director of the Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, said victims never ask to be part of the parole process, but they have the right to be heard in a safe space.
“They are much better able to heal than when they are dismissed, not heard or not meaningfully engaged in the aftermath of the crime” Schollett said.
October 25, 2023
Emily Provencher, of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, said there are some things parents should keep in mind.
"Students across the school, whether it was their photos or not, are going to feel the impact of the situation," Provencher said. "It is really important to make them aware of the 24/7 helpline that is available in the state of New Hampshire. That is not just for the victims in this situation, but also for the people who care about them."
September 23, 2023
Amanda Grady Sexton, director of public affairs for the N.H. Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence said Tuesday such crimes are more prevalent than many people realize.
“Children are being exposed to pornography at much younger ages now and maybe don’t have the same framework for what is appropriate in a relationship and also they are taking riskier and riskier actions in terms of their behaviors,” she said.
Also, the proliferation of smart phones makes it is easier than ever to record people without their permission, she said.
“People are selling these images,” Sexton said. “There is an increased demand for these kinds of voyeuristic videos, and there is new technology and enhanced capability to capture people in places where they have an expectation of privacy.”
August 8, 2023
The state also said it has an interest in protecting victims of Covington's crime and in ensuring that anyone who might want to be in a relationship with him in the future has access to accurate information about him, something victim advocates agree with.
"Erasing an offender's name in essence erases a part of history and takes away an important piece of safety planning for victims and for communities," Lyn Schollett, executive director of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, said. "The idea that a murderer can be granted a clean slate simply because they are ready to move on does not erase the impact of these horrific crimes."
August 3, 2023
Amanda Grady Sexton, public affairs director for the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, said allowing a convicted murderer to change their name makes it harder for the public to make thoughtful decisions about who they invite into their homes and lives.
“When a violent offender changes their name, both victims and communities face an added barrier to being informed about the offender’s whereabouts,” she said. “This experience is stressful to victims and dangerous for communities.”
Being aware of an individual’s past offenses is particularly important in cases involving domestic and sexual violence, since such behavior often follows a pattern, she said.
“Domestic violence escalates over time. It’s also the most lethal crime in New Hampshire,” she said. “Most sexual offenders also have multiple victims.”
August 2, 2023
Sexual assault and emotional, physical or financial abuse — the most common crimes against new arrivals to the U.S. — are typically underreported and invisible, according to lawyers who represent the victims.
For those brought to the U.S. by a citizen-spouse, a one-way trip to America can translate to long-term vulnerability. Scared, alone, with a limited ability to speak English or seek outside help, recent immigrants can feel trapped in situations of abuse.
“Immigrant women face a heightened risk of domestic violence. Abusers frequently exploit their partner’s immigration status and use the threat of deportation or arrest as a means of ongoing control,” said Amanda Grady Sexton, public affairs director for the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (NHCADSV).
July 31, 2023
The director of affairs for the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, Amanda Grady Sexton, appeared surprised by the verdict and hoped other jurisdictions would become involved in pursuing more charges.
“There must be accountability for those who use their position of authority to sexually exploit children in their care,” she said. “Sadly, today, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts failed to truly hold Howie Leung responsible for his horrific crimes. However, we know that it’s still possible for other jurisdictions to seek legal justice for the children Leung harmed.”
Grady Sexton applauded “the tremendous strength of the young survivor in this case and knows that her courage will help other victims to disclose sexual abuse and to begin the healing process.” She said perpetrators would “no longer be able to rely on a culture of silence when we ensure that children are educated about sexual abuse and believed when they speak out.”
July 19, 2023
“The court’s decision will be incredibly impactful because they affirmed that safety is a compelling public interest,” said Lyn Schollett, executive director of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence.
“While most speech is protected, not all speech is protected,” Schollett added. “One form of speech that is not protected is true threats.”
The coalition is planning to use the latest precedent to spread awareness of the protection options available to victims when it comes to online offenses, Schollett said.
July 17, 2023