Koster creates domestic violence task force
By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio
Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has set up a task force to review the state's domestic violence laws.
The task force will examine laws currently on the books and recommend new legislation for lawmakers to sponsor next year. Koster says one area he wants to address is reluctance of domestic violence victims to testify against their abusers.
"We're gonna listen to prosecutors and social workers give us the arguments on what to do on this type of situation," Koster said.
He also cites one recent improvement, in which the state now covers the cost of rape kits, a series of medical tests used to collect specimens from rape victims, instead of the victims being billed.
"That was certainly a step in the right direction, but we are looking for additional steps forward," Koster said. "It's been 20, 25 years, since we've really taken a close look at this problem."
The task force is made up of five members. They include a veteran lawmaker, State Representative Chris Kelly (D, Columbia), and Colleen Coble, CEO of the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.
Three meetings have been scheduled, the first on September 7th in St. Louis. The other two will be held in Columbia September 20th and Kansas City September 27th.
Koster says the task force's findings and recommendations will be released before the start of the 2011 legislative session, most likely in mid-December.