John Hopkins Public Health

A new law supporting victims of dating violence is awaiting Governor Kemp’s signature.

According to State Representative Houston Gaines (R-Athens) House Bill 231 passed the state legislature in March by a vote of 169-0.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Gaines, would create a new type of temporary protective order for victims who experience abuse by a dating partner.

“As one of three states that does not offer civil protection for victims of dating violence, this legislation marks a significant step forward in our fight against domestic violence,” said Rep. Gaines.

“Temporary protective orders are crucial tools for victims who are seeking to break away from the cycle of abuse. Current law denies access to this potentially life-saving relief, so I am proud that House Bill 231 has been sent to the governor to be signed into law.”

Rep. Gaines said the new temporary protective order would protect victims from “felonies, simple battery, battery, simple assault or stalking between two people with whom a pregnancy has developed, who are in a dating relationship or who had been in a dating relationship in the last six months.”

A dating relationship, under the proposed law, is defined as, “a committed, romantic relationship that involves an intimacy level above that of a mere friendship, but it would not require sexual involvement to be considered a dating relationship.”

In addition, Rep. Gaines said the new law, if signed by Governor Kemp, would  ensure that victims in abusive dating relationships have access to immediate relief and would allow judges to order the abuser to seek counseling or participate in educational programs offered by the state.

For more information on the proposed law please click here.

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