By The Associated Press

Crime victims, crime witnesses or their family members will soon have the choice to sit separate from defendants, defendants’ family members or defense witnesses in Louisiana courtrooms.

The governor’s office said Wednesday that Gov. John Bel Edwards had signed the bill from Sen. J.P. Morell, a New Orleans Democrat, to allow the seating division.

The new law takes effect Aug. 1.

Morrell said his proposal will help to protect victims of domestic violence, who often testify against their abusers.

The House and the Senate overwhelmingly supported the measure.

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