State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today announced the House passage of House Bill (HB) 1, her bipartisan legislation to modernize Ohio’s domestic violence laws. Joint-sponsored by Rep. Nathan Manning (R-N. Ridgeville), HB 1 will allow victims of dating violence to obtain civil protective orders against their attacker, a protection currently allowed in every state except Ohio and Georgia.
“For far too long, Ohio’s antiquated domestic violence laws have left thousands of Ohioans vulnerable to dating violence,” said Sykes. “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.”
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.
Current Ohio law only recognizes domestic violence as violence occurring between spouses, those cohabiting or family members. HB 1 will include individuals in ongoing, substantial, intimate and romantic relationships under Ohio’s definition, providing those victims access to essential protection.
“Every Ohioan deserves equal protection under the law in the face of domestic violence, regardless of their relationship status,” said House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). “I applaud this institution and my colleagues for coming together to lead this bipartisan effort to modernize Ohio’s domestic violence laws and protect vulnerable Ohioans.”
Women aged 18 to 24 face the highest rates of intimate partner violence. In the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten every nine seconds.
HB 1 now moves to the Senate for further consideration.
Here’s what other Democratic members are saying:
“We know that violence can begin in the early stages of a relationship. I believe HB 1 is so important because it provides necessary protections to those who find themselves in abusive relationships but did not previously qualify for a civil protection order because they weren't married or living together.” – Rep. Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus)
“As a practicing attorney I am pleased that my colleagues in the legislature have supported this bill to help give Ohioans another avenue in protecting themselves from domestic violence.” – Rep. Nicholas J. Celebrezze (D-Parma)
“Today, Ohio moves one step closer to joining nearly every other state in the country in affirming that dating violence is domestic violence, and that such abuse is reprehensible regardless of the nature of the relationship. Ohio victims have been unjustly neglected for too long, and it is far past time Ohio catches up and provides for their protection under the law.” – Rep. Catherine Ingram (D-Cincinnati)
“As a former prosecutor, too often I saw patterns of abuse and stalking in domestically violent dating relationships. I'm proud to add my name to this bill, which will expand the legal protections not previously entitled to all Ohioans affected by the horrific crime of domestic violence.” – Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron).
“Today I was proud to cosponsor and vote for HB 1, which extends protection order abilities to victims of dating violence. Research indicates that these orders do reduce violence within intimate dating relationships. Passage of HB 1 will help close a dangerous loophole in Ohio and I urge the Ohio Senate to pass it and the governor to sign it into law.” – Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid)
“Dating violence is real, and HB 1 is a perfect example of good, bipartisan policy making that considers and includes the voices of victims who’ve been previously marginalized and excluded from the protections of Ohio law. I am proud and honored to be a co-sponsor.” – Rep. Janine Boyd (D- Cleveland Heights)