Topeka Decriminalizes Domestic Violence

    Ashley Barnes, front, the president of the Lawrence, Kan., chapter of the National Organization for Women, watches the Topeka City Council discuss repealing the Kansas capital's ordinance against domestic violence, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011, in Topeka, Kan. Next to her is Hannah Rucker, a University of Kansas student who also opposes the move. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

    John Hanna / AP Photo

    In the battle over who will prosecute domestic-violence cases in Topeka, Kansas, victims fear they will be the ones who lose. The city council voted Tuesday night to decriminalize domestic violence, shifting the responsibility for prosecuting misdemeanors to the state, where it’s still considered a crime. The move, which has received significant backlash from victims of domestic violence and their advocates, was spurred by forced budget cuts in the district attorney’s office. The D.A. even wrote that Topeka “does not have the staff or infrastructure to provide victims of domestic violence with the level of service they have come to expect.”

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