Ohio Bill Would Update Domestic Violence Protection to Intimate Partners

Ohio may soon join 48 other states with provisions for people who are dating someone to obtain a civil protection order against the other individual if domestic violence occurs. Ohio House Bill 1 successfully passed in the Ohio House of Representatives on Tuesday, February 28, 2017.

Perhaps others such as myself will be surprised to learn that Ohio doesn’t already have such civil protections in place for those who are dating and find themselves at the hands of an attacker in their romantic partner. Imagine how frightening and vulnerable the person attacked must feel in their current inability to secure a civil protection order that bars the attacker from further contact. Current Ohio law only allows partners who share the same address or who have a child together to be considered victims of domestic violence.

Ohio HB1 is a bipartisan bill, originally sponsored and introduced by State Representatives Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) and Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville) on February 1, 2017, after which it was referred to the Ohio House of Representatives Civil Justice Committee for consideration. HB1 passed a committee vote on February 27 with a unanimous vote, then it was introduced before the full House of Representatives on February 28, where it passed with a 92 to 2 vote, receiving affirmation by Democrats and Republicans alike.

In addition to the right to file for a civil protection order, Ohio HB1 would allow access to domestic violence shelters for victims of dating violence and expand the state’s definition of dating violence, which now only recognizes violence between spouses as domestic violence.

The measure now passes to the Ohio Senate for its consideration.

In a press release, Sykes stated:

“For far too long, Ohio’s antiquated domestic violence laws have left thousands of Ohioans vulnerable to dating violence. My colleagues and I agree: it is past time to pull Ohio out of the dark ages and join the rest of the country in protecting victims of abuse. I am pleased we were able to come together in a bipartisan manner to help bring Ohio’s domestic violence protections into the 21st Century.”

In a separate press release, Manning said:

“Due to the risk of ongoing violence in these dating relationships, it is important that all victims of abuse have the resources to protect themselves. This is bipartisan, meaningful legislation that will unequivocally have a positive effect on victims’ lives. Many people argue that a piece of paper is not going to protect someone from harm, but studies have shown that violence stops completely or is significantly reduced when a protection order is in place.”

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