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New year will bring new help for dating violence victims

The days of dating partners having to file criminal charges to secure some personal safety and security are fast ending – and they can’t end soon enough.

House Bill 8, which provides dating couple the same protections afforded to married or co-habiting couples, or those with a child together, becomes law Jan. 1, eight months after its April passage by the Kentucky General Assembly.

The new Interpersonal Protective Orders provision fills an enormous hole in the law – providing parity and protection, and gives peace of mind to victims of dating abuse. Since April, officials have been busy training service providers and attorneys how to help dating violence victims seek and secure the new civil protection.

Another benefit is that like traditional Emergency Protective Orders, the state will input IPOs into its crime computer system, so police officers across the Commonwealth will have access to the orders and information anytime and all the time.

In addition to providing protections to individuals experiencing dating violence, the law also has provisions for individuals who experience sexual assault and stalking. These are critical add-ons since dating violence is especially high in the 16- to 24-year-old population, and is by far the most underreported type of intimate partner violence.

The time is almost nigh and these important new protections will deliver a happy new year for many.

 

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