So far this general assembly, the Ohio House has passed a number of important bills, from the state transportation budget to legislation that supports Ohio’s small business community by creating the definition of a microbusiness. Perhaps one of the most critical pieces of legislation we have passed is House Bill 1, which provides victims of intimate partner violence with further protections under Ohio law.

Designated as priority legislation as the first bill introduced during this legislative term, House Bill 1 allows men and women who are harmed by their intimate partner or someone they are dating to obtain a civil protection order against their attacker. Current law in Ohio does not cover individuals who are in a committed relationship but do not live in the same home or have a child together. In today’s society, many wait until later in life to get married or have children, but still spend years in a relationship with the same person. Those in such circumstances deserve the right to protection if violence occurs.

It became readily apparent that Ohio statute needs to be updated to consider these types of relationships during powerful testimony in the House Civil Justice Committee, of which I am vice chairman. We heard countless stories of women being stalked and attacked by former boyfriends, even after applying for a protection order and being denied because their intimate relationships didn’t qualify under the law. These individuals are still victims of domestic violence and need and deserve the ability to seek proper protections.

These protections are needed—studies have shown that 48 percent of women killed by an intimate partner were killed by a dating partner, and further, that women who have obtained protection orders are less likely to experience continued physical violence from their attacker. If this bill is signed into law, Ohio would become the 49th state to establish protections for dating violence victims.

Far too frequently, we hear stories of women and men alike who have been sadly and regrettably murdered by someone they trusted at one point in their lives. Oftentimes, those individuals were the victims of domestic abuse, a warning sign that more violence could be imminent and potentially prevented with the obtainment of a civil protection order. It is time for our state to modernize and expand its domestic violence laws to include the many Ohioans in committed and intimate relationships who may need those protections in order to leave a dangerous relationship.


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