Crime victim ceremony at Capitol

Governor Jay Nixon and Attorney General Chris Koster called on lawmakers to pass new laws dealing with domestic violence. The calls came during a ceremony on the Capitol steps to honor the victims of crime in Missouri.

St. Louis-area resident Carol Cromer is survivor of domestic terror. Her ex-husband refused to accept divorce, stalking her at work and setting fires to her home and vehicles. "Children especially do not deserve to live like this, Cromer said. They deserve to go back to their homes, their friends, their schools, and their jobs."

State lawmakers are working on several bills targeting domestic violence. They want to punish people who violate orders of protection and give the courts more authority to investigate whether a victim who withdraws her petition does so voluntarily.

"It is in everyone's interest that we promote prevention, hold batterers accountable, and provide security to those in need," Koster said.Advocacy groups say one in three women will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes. Nationwide, they estimate abuse victims lose eight million days of paid work every year. Over the past three decades, Missouri has done much to recognize the rights of crime victims. The governor says no one has more influence on the situation than those victims themselves. "Your tireless work has meant crime victims have a voice that will be heard," Nixon said.

Missouri law provides a crime victims compensation fund and an automated notification system to alert victim families when an offender is released from prison or scheduled for a parole hearing.