BANGOR – Philip Clark is currently on trial for the shooting death of his sister-in-law Renee Clark.
At the time of the shooting, Philip lived at Kennebec Road in Hampden, but his brother, Renee’s husband Frank, did not anymore for legal reasons.
Renee had a protection from abuse order against her estranged husband, but was not eligible for one against Philip.
Officials with Partners for Peace in Bangor told us this was because Renee and Phil were not in a relationship, and at the Hampden property they shared, they did not live in the same unit or apartment.
“Following the murder of Renee we heard a real outcry from the community about how could this happen, this is someone who sought protection,” said Casey Faulkingham, the community response team leader for Partners for Peace.
The law now allows abuse orders to anyone related by blood or marriage, regardless of where they live.
It also makes it easier for domestic violence survivors to see whether a protection from abuse or protection from harassment order better applies to their situation.
When the law change was still a bill up for debate in Augusta, its sponsor talked to us about its importance.
“We have a lot of domestic violence issues in Maine,” Sen. Stacey Guerin, R – Glenburn, said at the time. “That’s why we like to fix the loopholes, so someone doesn’t slip through the cracks when they ask for help.”
When cases like this are in the news, those on the front lines said they see an increase in calls to their hotline.
They are reminding anyone who needs it to reach out.
“We want to help anyone no matter if you think you situation is big or small or someone might need the service more, no we want to help you,” said Faulkingham.
The Partners for Peace hotline is 24/7, free, and confidential. The number is 1-800-863-9909.
And anyone interested in helping the fight against domestic violence, is reminded they can donate or volunteer for Partners for Peace.