Tom Shwab's daughter Elizabeth (Source: Tom Shwab)
State Rep. Tom Burch
Sade Goldsmith and her children (Source: WAVE 3 Archives)
FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - Last year in Kentucky, about 25 women were killed by their partners. How many of them could have been saved? There's a push in the Kentucky General Assembly to give those women a place to hide. For the man behind the bill, there's a very personal motivation.
Tom Shwab has two jobs – he's a legislative aide and proud father. Shwab has two daughters. This story is about the younger one, Elizabeth.
"Unknown to me, about February a year ago the marriage started falling apart," said Shwab.
Elizabeth, who had been married just a few years was escaping a violent relationship.
"She escaped one night to a friend's apartment after she had suffered some pretty tough abuse," Shwab said.
Fortunately, Elizabeth lives in Colorado. It's one of nearly 30 states with a program that gives victims a way to move and then protect their addresses from potentially violent partners. Shwab calls it "kind of a witness protection program."
This is when Shwab's second job comes into play. As legislative aide to Rep. Tom Burch of Jefferson County, Shwab has a chance to step in for only the second time in his career and advocate for a bill that he deeply believes in. Because for Shwab, "this is personal."
It's also something Shwab believes could be potentially life-saving to so many people, people like Sade Goldsmith. On July 15, 2012, Goldsmith was living in a new home in Pleasure Ridge Park when police say her former boyfriend, John Devine, broke in a back door and killed Sade, and their two children, John and JonTee.
Shwab hopes the law would give people like Goldsmith a place to hide in their own home.
"Maybe we could have saved one or two of those people," said Shwab.
"I grew up in an environment like that," said Burch (D-District 30/Louisville). "I know what it's like to not only be abused, but see your mother be abused too."
Burch's bill costs very little; they estimate around $50,000 a year to run. But by providing victims a "ghost address" so to speak, the benefit could be great.
"It's been worth it to my daughter," said Shwab. "She's absolutely thrived under the program."
That bill should come up tomorrow for a vote in the Kentucky House. Burch thinks it should pass with ease. It would then have to go to the Senate for approval.
Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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