Bill providing dating partners domestic violence protections passes House committee unanimously

02/10/2015 03:00 PM

FRANKFORT — A bill that would give protection to victims of dating violence and stalking unanimously passed the House Committee on Judiciary Tuesday.

House Bill 8, sponsored by Rep. John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, would allow victims of dating violence to be able to obtain protective orders against their abuser.

Current state law dictates that emergency protective order procedures applies only to married couples, persons living together or individuals that have a child in common.

Marion Brown, executive director of Sanctuary Inc. in Hopkinsville, a shelter for abused women, says there is a critical need for protecting dating partners who are suffering abuse and shared the story of a 19-year-old female college student who was had come to the shelter after being stalked and abused by a dating partner.

“Our advocates asked her three questions,” Brown said. “Are you married? No. Do you live together? No. Do you have a child in common? No. She left our building without civil, legal, protection because she could not say yes to one of those questions.”

First Lady Jane Beshear, who has been a strong advocate for protecting dating violence victims, said that Kentucky had waited long enough and it was time to protect victims of dating violence.

“It’s time to protect our daughters, our nieces, our grandchildren and our friends,” Beshear said. “It’s an obligation, our obligation, to provide immediate intervention and allow these victims to have a safe life.”

Tilley shared statistics with the committee showing how common dating violence is.

“One in three women at the University of Kentucky, much like our college campus, will be victimized in some way,” Tilley told the committee. “None of us should like those odds. I’m ready to send my little girl to a college campus in a couple of years and I hope we can have this protection in place for her and her friends and the rest of her colleagues on campus.”

If passed during the 2015 session, the implementation date would be Jan. 1, 2016, so judges and clerks have time to implement the new system.


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