State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today announced the introduction of House Bill (HB) 1, bipartisan legislation to modernize Ohio’s dating violence laws. The bill is modeled after HB 392 of the 131st General Assembly, legislation that passed the House unanimously last spring and as an amendment during the lame duck session. House Bill (HB) 1, co-sponsored by Rep. Nathan Manning (R-N. Ridgeville), would allow victims of dating violence to obtain civil protective orders against their attacker, a protection not allowed under current Ohio law.
“It is past time we pull Ohio out of the dark ages by modernizing our laws to protect all victims who are impacted by dating violence,” said Sykes. “By allowing this measure to become House Bill 1, we are sending a clear message that now is the time to close the loophole in Ohio’s dating violence laws. With every day we wait, more women and men in Ohio are placed in serious danger.”
If enacted, HB 1 would close a loophole in existing state law that leaves thousands of Ohioans without recourse in the event of dating violence. Current Ohio law only recognizes domestic violence, defined as violence occurring between spouses, family members, those cohabiting, or family members. People in ongoing, substantial, intimate and romantic relationships are not included in Ohio’s definition, leaving them without necessary protection.
Ohio and Georgia are the only two states that do not cover victims of dating violence under intimate partner violence laws. Kentucky, the last Ohio border state to expand protections, signed a dating violence modernization bill into law in 2015.
The National Dating Violence Hotline defines intimate partner violence, which includes dating violence, as a repetitive pattern of behaviors – including physical or sexual violence, threats, intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation – used to maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Women aged 18 to 34 face the highest rates of intimate partner violence. In the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten every nine seconds.