AUGUSTA, Maine — 1 in every 4 women and 1 in every 7 men say they've been a victim of severe violence by an intimate partner -- that's according to the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence.
The group also reports that a domestic violence assault is reported every two and a half hours somewhere in Maine. That means from the time you get up in the morning until the time you go to sleep at night, six Mainers were assaulted by their partner.
But sometimes assault comes from outside of the relationship. That was the case for a Hampden woman who was allegedly killed by her brother-in-law.
Renee Clark Henneberry was killed last July. Her daughter, Bethany, and her lawyer, Ezra Willey, are working with lawmakers to close a loophole on who can get protection orders when in danger or at risk.
Renee’s brother-in-law, Phillip Clark was arrested and charged with her murder -- just one month after he allegedly threatened her, and she was denied a protection from abuse order against him.
"The police told Renee not to go back to that place, not to go back to that building," Renee's estranged husband, Chuck Clark, said of the night she was killed.
But Renee went back. She did so despite being denied a protection order. Phillip didn’t live in the same apartment as she and her husband, but all three of them lived in the same building.
"Phil was staying in the back. We had it separated because Renee was very adamant that he couldn’t see her," Chuck said.
Now, Renee’s daughter and her lawyer are leading the charge to keep this from happening to someone else by working with lawmakers to change the way the protection order law is written.
"Right now, the bill defines family or household members as specific language, 'adult household members' -- so what we’ve proposed to do is strike out those three words and insert the words 'individuals'," Willey said. Willey was representing Renee, as she filed a protection order against her husband before filing for divorce.
It sounds like a small change, but it could have a big impact, which is why Renee’s daughter has spoken to lawmakers at the State House directly.
"I just think that when you can put it into a real person’s perspective, people are more likely to listen to it," Bethany said.
Bethany and Willey are not only looking to change the way the law is written. They are also hoping the courts will offer better advice to people seeking protection.
"She could have qualified for a protection from harassment based on that one act of," Willey said. "That threat of violence against her. She didn’t know that."
On Tuesday the the judiciary committee tabled this bill.
Willey tells NEWS CENTER Maine he will be working with a court representative, as well as the Maine Coalition on Domestic Violence, to adjust it to increase the chances it will be approved.