Press Release

Oklahoma Survivor Justice Coalition Applauds Governor for Signing the Oklahoma Survivors’ Act

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed the Oklahoma Survivors' Act into law, marking a victory for domestic abuse survivors in the state.

Related to: Sentencing Reform, Incarceration

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Today, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed Senate Bill 1835, the Oklahoma Survivors’ Act, into law, marking a victory for domestic abuse survivors across the state.

Earlier this month, the bill passed the Oklahoma Senate 38-0 and the Oklahoma House of Representatives 86-4. The Governor previously vetoed a version of the Oklahoma Survivors’ Act, but reconsidered his veto after working alongside Oklahoma legislators and experts.

“Today, we celebrate a momentous achievement as the Oklahoma Survivors’ Act becomes law. For years, Oklahoma has placed the blame for violent acts on domestic abuse survivors, punishing them for defending themselves. The Oklahoma Survivors’ Act rights those wrongs,” said Jan Peery, President and CEO of YWCA Oklahoma City. “We are deeply grateful to the survivors, advocates, and legislators like Rep. Jon Echols and Senate Pro Tempore Greg Treat who have worked tirelessly to bring about this day. We look forward to seeing this law implemented in the coming months.”

“Today is a historic, transformative day for the state of Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Survivor Justice Coalition applauds Governor Stitt for taking the time to reconsider the importance of the Oklahoma Survivors’ Act and sign this bill into law. We are also grateful to Representative Jon Echols and Oklahoma Senate Pro Tempore Greg Treat, as well as all our co-authors on the bill, for standing with domestic abuse survivors in Oklahoma, and to all of the advocates for their tireless work advocating for this bill,” said Colleen Mccarty, co-founder of the Oklahoma Survivor Justice Coalition and Executive Director of Oklahoma Appleseed. “Now, it’s time to reunite domestic abuse survivors with their families and ensure that future survivors are not punished for defending themselves. We look forward to working with local partners to implement this law.”

“This is a tremendous victory for domestic abuse survivors and their families in Oklahoma. By signing this bill, Governor Stitt has demonstrated his commitment to the well-being of domestic violence survivors, and affirms his dedication to creating a safer and more supportive environment for all Oklahomans” said Alexandra Bailey, Senior Campaign Strategist with The Sentencing Project. “The Sentencing Project is incredibly grateful for the overwhelming, bipartisan support for the Oklahoma Survivors’ Act, and we look forward to working with local partners to ensure this bill is implemented in full going forward.”

A petition to pass the Oklahoma Survivors’ Act had previously surpassed 20,000 signatures.

Oklahoma is in the midst of a domestic violence crisis, ranking first in the country in the perpetration of domestic violence and third in domestic homicides. At the same time, Oklahoma’s legal system is structured to punish survivors who defend themselves. The Oklahoma Survivors’ Act would:

  • Provide a sentencing mitigation procedure for victims of domestic violence who are being prosecuted. Once they are found guilty, they would be able to introduce evidence of their abuse at a sentencing mitigation hearing.
  • Allow currently incarcerated survivors to apply for resentencing if they can prove the abuse they suffered is substantially related to the crime they were convicted of.

About The OK Survivor Justice Coalition:

The OK Survivor Justice Coalition is a diverse group that represents directly impacted leaders, attorneys, and advocates for incarcerated survivors. The coalition advocates for safety and freedom for Oklahoma’s survivors of domestic violence both pre- and post- incarceration. Members of the Coalition include: Oklahoma Appleseed, DVIS, Inc., She Brews Coffeehouse, Right on Crime, Fair and Just Prosecution, RISE Program, Human Rights for Kids,, National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform, Oklahoma Policy Institute, Schusterman Family Philanthropies, Block Builderz, YWCA-OKC, The Sentencing Project, End Violence Oklahoma, Free April Wilkens, Foundation for Liberating Minds, Terence Crutcher Foundation, His House Ministries.

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