TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Ohio and Georgia are the only states left that don't cover victims of dating violence under current laws.
The out-of-date system could get an overdue update for Ohioans.
It's a sign of the times, not everyone is choosing to get married like they used to. The way the law is written currently, not being married could actually make it harder to take legal action if you find yourself in a domestic violence situation. Lawmakers have put forth legislation to change that antiquated rule.
Judge Joshua W. Lanzinger, Toledo Municipal Court judge explained how the system works presently.
"At the Toledo Municipal Court level we're likely to see what is called a temporary protection order. That can either be issued through the domestic violence statute or an alternate statute as a pretrial condition for release. As the name implies, a temporary protection order is temporary, so after the case is concluded, then the temporary protection order stops," Judge Lanzinger explained.
The current law only recognizes violence between spouses, family members, or those living together for permanent protective orders. The bipartisan proposal also gives victims of dating violence access to domestic violence shelters.
Deborah Stoll, the HOPE Center Rape Crisis Services Director at the Downtown Toledo YWCA is optimistic.
"The positive thing about this law is that it will broaden the number of people that can seek services at Domestic Relations Court. And they do a wonderful job working with abuse victims. They see them all the time," Stoll said. "They have a good mindset, a good understanding, and they do compassionate work with the victims. So, allowing more victims to use their services, we think will be a good thing. There are many people now that are in committed relationships but they don't get married. The legal system is a huge, complex system, and laws are written, sometimes they sit on the books for a long time. They make sense when they're written, but society changes. I think it should be a big improvement for the women that come here."
The Ohio House gave final approval of the bill this week. A spokesman for the governor said he will likely sign it into law.