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(INDIANAPOLIS) – Advocates for victims of domestic violence say Indiana needs to tighten safety protections.

When judges issue a protective order, they can order the suspected abuser to surrender any guns. If you’re convicted of domestic violence, you have to. But Domestic Violence Network executive director Kelly McBride says there’s little followup to make sure abusers have complied.

McBride says there’s also a flaw in the federal law on protective orders: it doesn’t include couples who weren’t living together. There’s room to do it under state law, but McBride says many victims don’t know it’s an option.

Indy Metro Police figures show about the same number of arrests for domestic violence last year as the year before. But the number of cases was up 22%. McBride says domestic abuse calls were up again the first three months of this year. She says the coronavirus pandemic increased tensions, with more people cooped up or unemployed, and an increase in drug and alcohol abuse. She says all those factors raise the likelihood that people with violent tendencies will act on them.