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Ohio (Finally) Updates Its Domestic Violence Laws

It looks like Ohio is finally taking the necessary steps to protect victims of intimate partner violence, following the example of literally every other U.S. state. As of 2018, Ohio is one of the last states to update its domestic violence laws to protect victims of intimate partner violence, with Georgia joining it on the short list of states that also fell behind on this pressing act of justice.

HB 392 was first introduced to the Ohio House of Representatives back in November of 2015. The bill, which is sponsored by Ohio state representatives Emilia Strong Sykes and Christie Kuhns, was introduced with intentions to extend protections under Ohio’s domestic violence laws to victims of intimate partner violence. Prior to the introduction of this bill, only victims experiencing domestic violence from a spouse or other family member reserved the right to file for a protection order, but hopefully the existence of this bill will allow Ohio to modernize its acts of justice.

In a 2016 article addressing the buzz around the bill, representative Sykes mentions the limitations on Ohio’s definition of domestic violence, stating, “Right now, Ohio only defines domestic violence as occurring between spouses, family members, those cohabiting, or parents. People in ongoing, substantial, intimate and romantic relationships are not included in Ohio’s definition.”

The lack of nuance to the state’s definition of what constitutes as domestic violence means that those who do experience intimate partner violence are at a higher risk of being victims of lethal violent crimes, particularly gun violence.

In addition to the loopholes in Ohio’s domestic violence laws, there also exist deadly loopholes that allow abusers to purchase guns even after protection orders have been filed against them. It can be agreed upon that this is probably not the smartest or safest decision on the part of Ohio state legislature.

It was even noted in an investigation by ABC News Cleveland that there is little action taken to actually have abusers monitored once protection orders have been filed against them: “We found days, weeks–even months can go by between the time a domestic violence victim requests an emergency, temporary protection order and when a suspected abuser appears for a full hearing in court.”

“Under federal gun laws, only protection orders that have granted a suspected abuser an opportunity for a full hearing are entered into a national crime database that would prevent guns from being sold at federally licensed gun shops,” said the article.  

While it is great that Ohio is finally taking responsibility for the protection of victims of domestic violence, it is a shame that it took this long for Ohio and other states under similar circumstances to address such a high risk issue.

Featured Image by Jim Bowen on Flickr

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