Topeka, the capital city of Kansas, is considering what some have said amounts to decriminalizing domestic violence in a desperate bid to save money.
The city is currently facing its worst budget crisis since the Great Depression in 1930. The move has been considered after a 10 per cent budget cut has forced local prosecutors to pull back on prosecuting misdemeanor cases - including domestic violence.
"Last month, the Shawnee County District Attorney's office, facing a 10 per cent budget cut, announced that the county would no longer be prosecuting misdemeanors, including domestic violence cases, at the county level," reports Think Progress.
The council is expected next week to consider the proposed changes, which would include repealing the part of the code that bans domestic battery.
Since then 16 people have been arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor domestic battery, but they were released from jail because neither the Shawnee County District Attorney's office nor the city attorney's office filed charges, said a spokeswoman for the Topeka Police Department.
According to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, as of 2009, every 22 seconds a domestic violence incident occurs and every 10.4 days a domestic violence-related murder occurs in the state of Kansas.
"Women are in increased danger after they have called police and after there is an arrest, because often times the abuser will blame the victim for his arrest," said Becky Dickinson, of the YWCA Center for Safety and Empowerment.
"When an abusive partner is arrested, the victim's danger level increases," said Dickinson.
"The abuser will often become more violent in an attempt to regain control. Letting abusive partners out of jail with no consequences puts victims in incredibly dangerous positions."
The city has already begun to unpave roads, lay off teachers, turn off street lighting and cut Medicaid funding in order to save money.