Thursday, October 13, 2011

Topeka, KS Repeals Domestic Violence Law

Outrage, disbelief, horror:  these are all the feelings I have had since hearing about the Topeka, Kansas City Council and their decision to repeal their domestic violence law.

You can read more about it here. 

I first saw an email about it and I immediately thought it was a hoax. I contacted a Kansas colleague and asked if this was true. To my absolute horror, it wasn’t a joke.
Anthony S. Bush/AP Photo
How did the city of Topeka come to this? The County District Attorney refused to prosecute misdemeanors due to budget cuts. Last year half of their misdemeanors were domestic violence cases.

Then the City said they couldn’t afford it either. So what was their solution? Repeal the law so domestic violence is no longer a crime in the city of Topeka in a play to force the County to step up.

REALLY?! That’s your solution? For the city and the county to play games with people’s lives is outrageous and unacceptable.

Victims of domestic violence do not matter to them; they are nothing but a cost to the city - one that they don’t want to incur. So the most vulnerable citizens are tossed aside in a political game to see who will give in first.

It makes me both incredibly sad and angry. We have worked so hard to let victims of domestic violence know that they matter; that they are worthy and deserving of a better life. We’ve worked to let them know that they don’t have to live in fear; that just because they are in a relationship with somebody doesn’t mean they can be abused.

The City of Topeka shattered that in one vote. Victim advocates in Topeka must start from scratch. They and the victims they work with are in my thoughts. Hopefully, someday soon the politics will be over and victims of domestic violence in Topeka will have the protection they deserve. But how many lives will be lost while they wait to be thought of as more than a budget line item?


UPDATE: After the City of Topeka voted to repeal their domestic violence law and a national outcry ensued, the County District Attorney’s office has decided to once handle the prosecution of these cases. However, the domestic violence law is still repealed in the City of Topeka.


  1. Pretty unbelievable stuff. As one from Topeka I'm more than a little embarrassed that we made national news for this.


  2. Hi Mike. Thanks for the comment. I can't even imagine what it was like to be living in Topeka when all of this happened. I'm sure most of the city felt the same way you do. How can people's lives be less important than making budget?