NASCAR, Florida Legislators Stand Up for Domestic Violence Victims
Accused Domestic Abuser Suspended from NASCAR
Just days before the racing season opened for the Daytona 500, NASCAR officials stepped up with a bold move in favor of victims of domestic violence: they suspended former champion Kurt Busch indefinitely due to allegations of domestic abuse. The suspension represents the first time NASCAR has ever suspended a driver for domestic violence. Chevrolet, Busch’s former sponsor, also cut ties with the accused abuser. NASCAR officials stated that they wanted to make it clear “to our entire membership and the broader industry that any actions of abuse will not be tolerated in the industry.”
The move followed a judge’s finding that, not only did Busch likely choke and beat an ex-girlfriend, but also that there was “substantial likelihood” that he would continue with the behavior. The judge issued a no-contact order, protecting the ex-girlfriend from further contact from the driver. The ex-girlfriend said that it wasn’t her goal to seek publicity or a suspension. Instead, she said: “I reported a crime, just like anybody else who has been abused should do, because no one is above the law.” Criminal charges have not yet been filed.
Seeking Social Change and Justice
Following the high-profile Ray Rice scandal, commentators have been closely watching how sports organizations handle domestic abuse. Some commentators have noted that, although domestic violence in sports remains a problem, sports also provide a platform to reach boys and young men. Actions like the one taken by NASCAR make a statement, not just about NASCAR’s priorities, but about how seriously domestic abuse should be taken.
Although long-term social change is an admirable goal, women like Busch’s ex-girlfriend still have to deal with the abuse they suffered, and the danger of future abuse. That’s where the law– and domestic violence attorneys– can help.
Florida Considers Updating Domestic Violence Laws
In Florida, there is hope that the law will get even better at protecting victims of domestic violence. For example, one proposed law, the Electronic Monitoring Bill (SB 1286) would increase penalties for tampering with or removing a device like an ankle monitor, which not currently a crime under most conditions. The bill would protect victims of domestic abuse who are still at risk of further abuse.
If passed, the No Contact Legislative Bill (SB 342) would strengthen no-contact orders like the one that led to Busch’s suspension. It would ensure that the order took place immediately, so that perpetrators could not harass their victims even from prison. The law would help prosecutors go after abusers, even if the victim hesitates to testify, because the logged calls would be proof of a violation of the no-contact order.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, it is normal to experience some hesitation about whether to step forward. Although it can be daunting, actions like the ones taken by NASCAR and Florida legislators show that more and more people are also stepping forward to protect victims of domestic violence. The first step is reaching out to a Miami domestic violence attorney at the Law Office of Julia Kefalinos, Attorney, P.A. and speaking to someone who is on your side.