Wait in Ky for Dating Violence Protections About Over
FRANKFORT, Ky. – After years of trying, advocates for domestic violence victims convinced Kentucky lawmakers last winter to extend civil protections to dating couples.
The new law, signed by the governor in April, takes effect Jan. 1.
Under the old law, dating partners had to file criminal charges to seek protection because Emergency Protective Orders, covered only married couples, or those who are living together or have a child together.
Mary Savage, general counsel for the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence, says the new Interpersonal Protective Orders fill a huge hole in the law for those abused while dating.
"I think that gives them some peace of mind,” she states. “And, it's highly enforceable because our protective orders, including the IPOs now, go into our state crime computer system and so, they're accessible to police officers across the Commonwealth 24 hours a day, seven days a week."
Kentucky Chief Justice John Minton told lawmakers recently that the state's court system is "on target to carry out its responsibilities" under the new law, House Bill 8.
Savage says she's been busy training service providers and attorneys on how to help dating violence victims seek the new civil protection.
She says it's important that they, and those in law enforcement, know the reach of the new law.
"It's not only going to be available now for individuals who are experiencing dating violence, but also for individuals who experience sexual assault and stalking," she points out.
Savage says research shows that violence in dating relationships is especially high in the 16- to 24-year-old population and it's the most under reported type of intimate partner violence.