Yeardley Love Couldn’t Have Gotten a Restraining Order If She Wanted To…

May 18, 2010

Yeardley Love Couldn’t Have Gotten a Restraining Order If She Wanted To…

Yeardley Love’s murder  has brought new light to dating violence on college campuses.  Perhaps the most disturbing new revelation is the fact that, despite, Huguely’s violent past, Love couldn’t have filed for a restraining order against him even if she wanted to. Virginia is one of eight states that excludes people in dating relationships—in other words, unmarried couples or partners—from getting protective restraining orders, and for the past three years, the state has failed an annual assessment of domestic-violence-protection laws. Presented by Break the Cycle, a national nonprofit that works to end domestic violence, the State Law Report Card assesses how easy, or difficult, it is for teens seeking legal protection from abuse. Writing for the Huffington Post, the organization’s executive director, Marjorie Gilberg, put it this way:  “Many of the blatant behaviors and warning signs that could have been leveraged for protection were not available to Love.”  “Laws are slow to change, and in this case, the laws are simply not keeping pace with the realities of dating violence,” Gilberg told NEWSWEEK. Virginia’s law, she added, also fails to protect victims of stalking, harassment, or property damage.

Do State Civil Domestic Violence Laws Protect Teens?

Break The Cycle

Teens and young adults are among the most likely to experience abuse in a relationship. Manystate domestic violence laws, however, do not protect those who need it the most. Below is a summary of how state domestic violence restraining order laws address some of the circumstances teen victims face.

Dating Relationships

· Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia allow victims of domestic violence who are dating their abuser to apply for a civil domestic violence restraining or protective order.

These states are: AK, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, DC, FL, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, LA, ME, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NC, ND, OK, PA, RI, TN, TX, VT, WA, WV, WI and WY. Not all of these states use the word “dating” in the law or define dating in the same way. But, all thirty-eight include protection for victims in a dating relationship.

· Twelve states do not allow a victim who is in a dating relationship to apply for protection under their civil domestic violence restraining or protective order laws. These states are: AL, AZ, GA, KY, MD, NY, OH, OR, SC, SD, UT and VA.

· One of these states, Oregon, allows a victim who is in a sexual relationship with the abuserto apply for a restraining or protective order.

Know the law in your state and the state that your daughter is attending college.  Just another reason for knowing and understanding dating violence abuse education.

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  1. May 18, 2010 at 12:06 PM

    Restraining orders do very little to stop those they are against from committing violence or other offenses against the victims who have them. When police do little to enforce restraining orders and prosecutors fail to charge those who violate terms of restraining orders and then judges offer little to no consequences for those convicted of doing so: restraining orders are meaningless.

    Aside from the above, restraining orders used to prevent contact from a stalker — or from any offender — disclose the victim’s address, work address, school address. Victims who have moved for safety do not want their location disclosed by the courts so this nearly meaningless piece of paper can actually bring harm in these instances by alerting the offender of the victim’s whereabouts.

    What needs to happen is people need to see domestic violence as not a private issue, but a public one. If a person assaults a stranger that person is incarcerated for the public’s safety. If a person assaults a “loved one” — shouldn’t that crime be considered even more heinous than an assault against a stranger? And yet it isn’t. It is marginalized as a “private matter” and hidden from view and the perpetrators are left to walk freely in society and continue their criminal activity.

  1. May 21, 2010 at 7:19 AM
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