Bipartisan regulation would add safety for courting victims of violence in Georgia

Efforts to fill the loophole in Georgian Domestic Violence Law

A bipartisan effort to close the loophole in Georgia’s domestic violence law was sent to Governor Brian Kemp’s desk for his veto to be signed.

A bipartisan bill passed unanimously in both the Georgia Senate and House of Representatives would literally save lives, according to experts and the state official who drafted it.

Athens MP Houston Gaines sponsored House Bill 231, which would increase protection for dating victims of violence in Georgia.

“It was something I felt passionate about protecting victims of dating violence and domestic violence,” says Rep. Gaines.

The Republican says many proponents turned to him and explained the importance of the problem of dating violence. He says that’s why he teamed up with other lawmakers and non-partisan groups to draft the bill.

Under current Georgian law, a Temporary Protection Order (TPO) stipulates that both parties must either live in the same household, be parents of the same child or be previously married. This is subject to the Family Violence Act.

House Bill 231 would create a new Dating Violence Act that only requires both people to be in a dating relationship, or have developed a pregnancy, currently or within the last 6 months. It would no longer be necessary for the perpetrator and victim to already have a child, live in the same house, or be previously married to apply for the TPO.

Gaines State MP said, “It will ensure that victims of dating violence have the same protection as other victims in our state. Frankly, this is a loophole in Georgian law.”

Family violence attorney Vicky Kimbrell agrees. She says: “Georgia is catching up with what other states are doing to protect victims of domestic violence.”

According to Kimbrell, calls for help against domestic violence have increased by 46% over the past year. This is partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kimbrell says, “The pandemic has been a double nuisance for our customers. They are stuck at home, they cannot get the housing they need for much time. Other victims have lost their jobs and lost the ability to go out and earn a living to.” to escape violence. “

Kimbrell also says that during the pandemic, resources for the victims have been depleted. “We are committed to protecting them from domestic violence and pandemics on behalf of our customers. We are also committed to the holistic resources they need, such as healthcare, TANF and SNAP. All the resources they need to protect yourself. ” financially independent of their abusers. “

Temporary protection orders offer more protection than an injunction. Of course, they order the perpetrator to stay away, but they also help the victim in other ways depending on the situation. Having children involved could help with custody. Sometimes it can also be helpful when returning property. In other situations it can be helpful to remove the perpetrator from the victim’s home.

House Bill 231 would also allow judges to order the perpetrator to seek advice or attend state educational programs.

Full interview with Rep. Houston Gaines on HB 231

Athens MP Houston Gaines discusses his sponsorship of House Bill 231, which will hopefully fill the loophole in Georgia’s domestic violence law.

The dire reality that data reveals is that many victims of domestic violence are killed before they can escape their abusers.

Kimbrell says, “The problem that got us aware of teen dating … is a death report that shows how many victims of domestic violence hit their perpetrators between the ages of 13 and 20 and then fatally pay attention that we do really need to focus on teen dating violence as a preventive measure. “

While House Bill 231 focuses on dating violence, it does not currently include minors. But MP Gaines says he wants to bring this up in the next parliamentary term.

Regardless, the message from State Rep. Gaines on this bill is simple: “There is no doubt that states that have proactively added dating violence have seen a decline in the homicide of intimate partners. I think this legislation is going literally Save lives.”

FOX 5 approached Governor Brian Kemp’s office on House Bill 231. Officials say, “All bills passed by lawmakers are currently under legal review.” According to the Georgia General Assembly website, the final bill was sent to the governor on April 7, exactly one week after it was unanimously passed.

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