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Ohio House Unanimously Passes a Bill Cracking Down on Dating Violence

Alexander Smith
Wikimedia Commons

A bill to crack down on violence committed in dating relationships passed the House unanimously on Tuesday.

The bipartison legislation would allow victims of dating violence to seek a protective order against an alleged perpetrator. It would update current law that only recognizes violence between spouses, family members, those living together or family members for the purpose of seeking protective orders.

The proposal gives victims of dating violence access to domestic violence shelters and requires the Ohio Attorney General's Office to include information about the issue in its victim's bill of rights pamphlet.

Democratic Rep. Emilia Sykes of Akron was a joint sponsor of the bill with Republican Rep. Nathan Manning of North Ridgeville. On the floor, Sykes remembered 31-year-old Brittany Littlejohn, a constituent shot to death, allegedly by her boyfriend, earlier this month.

She called on lawmakers to support the bill to “ensure that no one has to bury a child, no one has bury their mother, no one has to bury their friend because this state has done absolutely everything that we could to protect victims of dating violence.”

The bill is similar to laws in 48 other states allowing for protective orders in dating relationships. House leadership had said it was a priority after the bill failed to pass both chambers during the lame-duck session last year.