Yesterday, the Ohio House voted overwhelmingly to pass legislation to address a loophole in current Ohio law by allowing victims of dating violence to obtain civil protection orders against their attackers. Today, such orders are only available to victims who are spouses, living as spouses or share a child in common. This leaves thousands of Ohioans without protection because, as noted by Phyllis Riehm of ACTION Ohio in testimony, 48.6% of women killed by intimate partners were killed by dating partners.
The bipartisan legislation was sponsored by Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) and Nathan Manning (R-N. Ridgeville). In an emotional speech on the house floor, Sykes recalled the story of a young Akron woman who recently lost her life to a dating partner and appealed to her colleagues:
I hope that you will stand with me in supporting House Bill 1, to support victims of dating violence across the state and ensure that no one has to bury a child, no one has to bury their mother, no one has to bury a friend because the state has done absolutely everything that we could to protect victims of dating violence.
Despite having 65 sponsors or cosponsors, the legislation did meet with some opposition. Two members — Republicans Tom Brinkman and Nino Vitale — voted against the measure. The bill now goes to the Ohio Senate.