Dating violence bill gets push from Governor, First Lady - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Dating violence bill gets push from Governor, First Lady

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- More than 14 percent of high school students in Kentucky report being victims of dating violence. That's one of the highest numbers in the country.

A bill designed to help those victims is once again making its way through the General Assembly.

Gov. Steve Beshear, Tuesday, led a bipartisan show of support for the bill that would give new protection to victims of dating violence.

“For several sessions we have been discussing these protections. This session, we're going to pass a bill,” Beshear declared during a Capitol news conference.

The Governor, Lt. Governor, and First Lady joined leaders of the House and Senate to push for the bill's passage.

“We have an obligation to provide intervention tools before it's too late,” said First Lady Jane Beshear.

House Bill 8 allows victims of dating violence to take out what's called an Interpersonal Protective Order, IPO, designed to keep the abuser away.

Under current law, that kind of protection applies only to married couples, those who live together, or have children together.

“Because of these new protections, women in dating relationships who did not have the ability to get a protective order will now have that. So not only will it save lives, it will save that victimization,” said Rep. John Tilley (D-Hopkinsville), one of the bill's sponsors.

It would also include rape and stalking victims.

Advocates have been fighting to pass the bill for 7 years, but this version has been tweaked to address past concerns.

“[It's] By far better. And I think that there's a high likelihood of success when we get some of the details worked out,” said Senate Pres. Robert Stivers (R-Manchester.)

During the bill's first committee hearing, one group did express concern that IPOs could be misused.

“With these types of orders, the burden of proof is so much lower,” said Adrienne Gilbert of Take Back Kentucky, a group which describes itself as “liberty-oriented.”

The bill easily passed its first test, clearing the House Judiciary committee unanimously.

“It will absolutely save lives, and save spirits, and save futures. And that's important,” said Darlene Thomas of the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Some lawmakers say they still have lingering questions, but supporters expect the bill to pass and land on Gov. Beshear's desk next month.

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