On April 5, Gov. John Kasich signed House Bill 1 into law. This bipartisan bill was sponsored by two Ohio lawmakers, Emilia Sykes (D) and Nathan Manning (R). The bill was crafted with the intention of closing a court loophole, extending the option to obtain a Civil Protection Order (CPO) to victims of dating violence. Previously, CPOs were only available to domestic violence victims who were married to or living with their abuser. Supporters of this legislation emphasize its importance by pointing out that relationship violence is most common in young people (ages 18-24) who are more likely to be unmarried or not sharing a residence with their partner.
A CPO can help victims in a number of ways and can be tailored to fit an individual’s specific needs. CPOs are issued by the Domestic Relations Court and according to the Columbus City Attorney’s website, they can do the following:
a. Direct the abuser to stop the abuse;
b. Grant possession of the residence or household to you and/or other family member, to the exclusion of the evict the abuser; or order the abuser to vacate the premises, or (if the abuser has the duty to support order the abuser to provide suitable, alternative housing;
c. Award temporary custody and establish temporary custody orders with regard to minor children (if no other court has determined custody and visitation rights);
d. Require the abuser to maintain support if the abuser customarily provides for or contributes to the support of the family or household, or if the abuser has a duty to support under the law;
e. Require counseling;
f. Require the abuser to refrain from entering the residence, school, business, or place of employment of the victim or other family members;
g. Grant any other relief that the court considers fair, including, but not limited to, ordering the abuser to permit the use of a motor vehicle to the victim, and ordering a fair apportionment of household and family personal property.
While another type of protection order called a Civil Stalking Protection Order was previously available to victims of dating violence, CPOs include certain protections that CSPOs do not. For example, a CSPO cannot enforce child support, custody, visitation, protection of personal property, or protection of motor vehicles. The new law going into effect in early July will add dating violence to the Attorney General’s Victim’s Bill of Rights, allowing them access to more services.
Though the passing of this bill is a step in the right direction, Ohio Domestic Violence Network Director Nancy Neylon expresses her concern regarding a portion of the law that will require victims to provide proof of their relationships with their abusers. Neylon said that it might be difficult for a victim of violence to appear in court and talk about the details of the abusive relationship. Neylon said, “You may have to talk about your sexual relationship. You may have the respondent denying the relationship. That’s going to be tricky. There are judges who still don’t want to give protection orders for married people in this state.”
The passing of this bill brings Ohio up to date with the domestic violence laws present in 48 other states. According to a Cleveland.com report, Kasich said at the bill’s signing that the next step in increasing protection for victims is to pass a law prohibiting people under CPOs from owning a firearm. This idea came from Kasich’s bipartisan gun policy group.
Locally, Turning Point offers assistance to all victims of domestic and dating violence, including help with obtaining a protection order and other victims’ advocacy services. For a full list of the services offered by Turning Point, visit turningpoint6.org/services
Alexandra Kauser is a professional writing intern at Turning Point in Marion. Turning Point operates in six central Ohio counties, offering shelter, counseling, advocacy and general support to victims of domestic violence of any kind, including human trafficking.