Domestic Violence Bill Passes Out of Committee

Jan 9, 2014

A bill filed that would expand domestic violence protection for unmarried couples in Kentucky has cleared committee and is headed for a vote before the full state House.

Previous efforts to expand protections have stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Right now, if someone is abused by their spouse, the parent of their child, or someone they live with, that person can get an emergency protective order against their abuser. But, if you're in a dating relationship, you have to try and get a warrant, and a warrant is harder to get than an emergency order.

Bills like this, that would let dating partners get emergency protective orders, have passed the House before, only to die in the Senate.

Senate President Robert Stivers told reporters this year that he thinks the current system is working just fine. But Kentucky Domestic Violence Association president Darlene Thomas says it isn't.

“We are the ones that often repeatedly hear the desperation in the voices of dating violence victims and their victims, and hear comments such as ‘Do I have to be killed before someone will decide I need protection?’ Or, ‘You mean to tell me because I’ve never lived with somebody I can’t get help?’,” Thomas said.

Governor Steve Beshear gave his support to the measure in his State of the Commonwealth address this week.