New Protections for Victims of Dating Violence in Georgia
In May 2021, Governor Brian Kemp signed Georgia House Bill 231 into law. This decision provides additional protections and support for people in our state who experience dating violence. Specifically, HB 231 allows victims of dating violence to seek a temporary protective order against their abusers.
Prior to this development, only victims of family violence were eligible to seek temporary protective orders. Now, you do not have to be related to or live with a dating partner to be able to seek this type of immediate legal protection from further violence.
If you suffered dating violence and would like information regarding your protective order options, speak with a Forsyth County family law attorney right away.
Who is Protected?
Dating violence happens between two intimate partners who may or may not have lived together. The law defines “dating” as a romantic and committed relationship that involves intimacy that is more than a simple friendship, but there is no requirement that the dating partners are sexually involved or cohabitating.
The temporary protective order will be available for people who are in current dating relationships, had been involved in such a relationship in the previous six months, or when a pregnancy develops from a dating relationship. The law will protect such individuals from:
- Simple assault or battery
- Aggravated assault or battery
- Felony offenses
The law allows victims of dating violence to seek and obtain immediate relief in the form of a temporary protective order. This type of order can be issued by the court without allowing the abuser to defend themselves against the order. The court can also order the abuser to undergo counseling or participate in an educational program regarding domestic violence run by the state.
If a victim wants to seek a longer-term order, they will need to attend a court hearing where the abuser can defend against the order. This is a complex and stressful process, and it is important to have the right legal representation.
What to Do After Dating Violence Happens
If your dating partner engages in stalking, physical violence, sexual violence, or any other type of violent behavior, you should first protect yourself by calling the police. However, just because your partner is arrested does not mean that you are safe from future harm. Criminal cases can last a long time, and in the meantime, you want maximum legal protections from future abuse.
This is why you should consult with a Forsyth County family attorney who can help you start the process of obtaining a temporary protective order as soon as possible. Once you have a temporary order in place, we can take the steps necessary to seek a long-term order if you need one to protect your safety.
Let a Forsyth County Family Lawyer Help You
If you suffered dating violence, you want to have a Forsyth County family law attorney at Banks, Stubbs & McFarland, LLP, on your side. Contact us online or call 770-887-1209 for more information about how we can assist you.