Senator Harper Angel says measure is long overdue
FRANKFORT – Governor Steve Beshear held a ceremonial signing of the dating violence bill.
House Bill 8 provides civil protection from domestic violence, sexual abuse or stalking for dating partners in the form of a protective order. The bill, sponsored by Rep. John Tilley, streamlines the process to obtain protective orders for victims and allows an order to be expunged from someone’s record if a judge dismisses the order.
“This measure is long overdue,” said Senator Harper Angel, who carried similar legislation for the past six legislative sessions. “We need to protect all victims of domestic violence from abuse and that includes victims in dating relationships. This law will protect victims and save lives.”
Currently, victims of dating violence in Kentucky must file criminal charges against their partner in the hope of preventing ongoing abuse. Only victims who are married to, have a child with, or live with their abuser can seek civil protection from domestic violence or abuse, physical violence or stalking as specified under law.
“Domestic violence happens because of a relationship, not an address or a marriage certificate,” said Senator Harper Angel. “It crosses all races, social and economic backgrounds, cultures, religions and relationship types. Domestic violence is a complex crime of power and control. Most often this crime occurs not in public, but in private and occurs between two people in an intimate relationship.”
Approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the U.S., according to the Commission on Domestic Violence. Not all of those victims are married to, live with or have a child with their abusers. Reports from the Commission on Domestic Violence indicate that almost 86 percent of the women who received a protective order state that the abuse either stopped or was greatly reduced.
HB 8 offers victims in dating relationships the same protections as married partners by opening the door for civil protections for victims who have been battered and abused by their boyfriend or girlfriend.
A longtime advocate for victims, Senator Harper Angel also successfully passed Senate Joint Resolution 20 this session that could expedite testing of rape kits.
Senator Harper Angel, who represents the 35th District, has served in the State Senate since 2005.