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Domestic violence survivor says proposed bill to protect victims, could do more harm than good

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RICHMOND, Va. -- In the General Assembly, there has been a new push to protect victims of domestic violence from their attackers. But one survivor of domestic abuse told CBS 6, she fears one plan that she believes can lead to even more crime.

More than eight years ago, Davette Hayes survived her worst nightmare.

“I was on my way into work and my ex ambushed me with a machete and left me for dead,” she said.

Hayes said doctors brought her back to life twice, but the scars of the violence her ex-boyfriend inflicted on her remain.

“I have nerve damage in my eye and around my lip,” Hayes explained.

That’s why news that legislators in the House and the Senate introduced two separate bills aimed at protecting victims like her, brought a smile to her face.

“I’m glad something is being done, being seriously looked at.”

Davette Hayes

Davette Hayes

Delegate Ben Cline’s bill would require offenders to complete domestic violence education and treatment programs. Hayes said this bill seems like a good idea.

“I think that is wonderful…that is one way to try to combat domestic violence,” she said.

But Hayes has mixed feelings about the second bill, introduced by Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel.

That bill would allow anyone over 21 who is issued a protective order and is not prohibited from having a firearm, to carry a concealed handgun for 45 days.

“If somebody can go out and get a gun right away without proper training they could injure themselves or someone else,” Hayes said.

CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone said Hayes has a point, but he understands the thought process behind the bill.

“The purpose of this bill is to give a weapon to somebody who needs it in a volatile situation,” he said. “But it’s also putting the weapon in the hands of somebody who may not have any training to use a weapon and in a volatile situation that could be really dangerous.”

Both of these bills passed in their respective chambers Tuesday. CBS 6 will continue to follow the bills as they make their way through the General Assembly.