“Kayleigh’s Law” aimed to protect Arizona abuse victims to go into effect Saturday

A new Arizona law known as Kayleigh’s Law goes into effect on Saturday and will provide lifetime protection from abusers for victims of certain crimes.
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 8:07 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell held a press conference Wednesday to talk about a new law aimed to protect victims of abuse. The county attorney said “Kayleigh’s Law” should help victims of serious or sexual crimes.

Right now, if a convicted abuser’s probation ends, there is no real protection for the person they harmed. If a victim were to ask for a protection order, they would need to prove there was a recent encounter with the person. That won’t be required anymore under the new law.

“It’s very important to me that victims have protection and a voice in the system,” Mitchell said. “It allows victims of certain serious crimes such as sex crimes or violent crimes, to petition the court when they terminate probation to still enter into the court. A defendant is not allowed to have contact with victim.”

During the press conference, Kayleigh Kozak shared her story. Kozak was abused as a child by someone she knew. She said it was the hardest thing she has ever had to deal with, and the trauma sticks with her every day. “I knew I had to do something because no victim should have to do what I had to do,” Kozak said. “They should not have to reface their abuser ever again.”

Kozak said the person that abused her was trying to end his probation. However, when she tried to get a protection order against him, the court said she needed proof of a recent encounter. Kozak was shocked to find out that she wasn’t protected. That’s when she decided to try and make a new law.

“No victim should ever have to worry their abuser is going to contact them again. That’s why I fought so hard for them so nobody would have to experience what I experienced,” she said.

Moving forward, a convicted abuser would be charged a class 1 misdemeanor if they were to contact someone they harmed. Kozak said passing this law was a big sigh of relief for her and other people who were harmed.

“A victim’s story does not end when their case closes. That’s just the chapter that’s closing they have to live with what was done to them for their entire life. It doesn’t go away. You don’t get to reinsert yourself into someone’s life that you’ve ruined because of a choice you made,” she said.

The law was named after Kozak, and “Kayleigh’s Law” goes into effect Saturday. Arizona is the first state to pass it, with Wisconsin as second. Kozak hopes she can get all 50 states to adopt a similar law. The whole law can be read below.