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This past week was the 40th annual National Crime Victims' Rights Week, and we're glad to see our community and state renewing their commitments to victims of crime.

It's a time to remember crime victims and their families as well as those who have gone the extra mile to provide services to crime victims.

But it's also time to focus on legislation with crime victims in mind. One of the speakers at a Monday candlelight vigil honoring crime victims was Rep. Lane Roberts, R-Joplin. As we reported last week, Roberts was chief of the Joplin Police Department and then director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety before being elected to the House.

He recalled that when he started his law enforcement career in 1971, domestic violence victims were not treated with compassion.

Roberts is seeing success with legislation dealing with domestic violence and stalking. As we reported, one of the bills, HB744, came about after Roberts met with a group of women who were victims of domestic assault, one of whom had to go to court 69 times on her particular case.

"It's my hope that your 70th visit to court will be your last because that bill will allow a judge to have a hearing and make conclusions of fact that could declare a person dangerous and issue a protection order that would last a lifetime of the abuser," Roberts said.

Abusers could petition a judge to reverse that, but the burden would be on them.

Cole County Prosecutor Locke Thompson told the crowd his office was committed to defending the rights of victims. Currently, they have three victims' advocates working in different areas.

Our hope is people in positions of power such as Thompson and Roberts continue to seek solutions and comfort for those who have been victimized.

News Tribune

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