Domestic Violence Laws Expanded

Kentucky law has long allowed a person who is the victim of “domestic violence” to seek a protective order.  This order can require the “abuser” to vacate a shared residence, to have no contact with the “victim”, to restrict the places the abuser can visit and place the offender on a global positioning device.  This protection has been available for many years to family members, members of a married or formerly married couple, members of an unmarried couple who currently live together or formerly lived together, or have a child in common.   Recently, the Kentucky General Assembly expanded the definition of “members of an unmarried couple” to include people who are or have previously been in a dating relationship.  The amended statute describes a “dating relationship” as one of “a romantic or intimate nature.”  It goes on to list several factors that the courts may look at to determine whether a couple is in such a relationship.  These are:

1.       Whether the parties had an expectation of affection

2.       The frequency and type of interaction between the persons

3.       The duration and continuity of the relationship

4.       If the relationship has existed in the last three (3) years.

The statute specifically excludes a casual acquaintance or those relationships that are “ordinary fraternization in a business or social context.”   There is no clear rule as to when a dating relationship exists, and therefore the existence of a dating relationship will have to be determined by the court on a case-by-case basis before an order of protection may be granted.  This statute greatly expands the courts ability to protect victims of domestic violence.    This law went into effect on January 1, 2016.

Relationship is only one of the three areas that the Court must inquire to determine whether or not to issue a protective order.  The other two (Residency and Danger of Violence) remain unchanged.  A Kenton Family Court Judge, for example,  must find that you are either a resident of Kenton County or have fled here to escape violence and, further, that there is an immediate and present danger of domestic violence.  This means physical injury, sexual abuse, assault or the threat or infliction of fear of imminent physical injury, sexual abuse or assault. 

If you are currently in or previously have been in a dating relationship, and the other party is subjecting you to actual violence or threats of violence, then you will soon be able to ask the courts of the county you are in to issue protective orders to assist you. 

Please visit for additional information on your eligibility for getting an EPO.

Posted February 10, 2016 at 11:17 AM