Jeffersontown, KY – The passage of HB 8 today in the House Judiciary Committee that will extend protective orders to additional groups of victims represents an important step toward giving Kentucky children and their families a safe environment free from violence. We applaud the work of the bill’s sponsor, Representative John Tilley for his work with Senator Whitney Westerfield,  to craft bipartisan legislation that will improve the lives of Kentucky children and families. Currently, Kentucky statute only allows protective orders for those who have been married, lived with, or had a child with the offender. This leaves many people, including many teens, without one of the most effective forms of protection from being exposed to or experiencing violence – protective orders. Children of victims who experience dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking are also left unprotected from being exposed to violence, which is a known trauma that impacts children’s healthy development.

Children and youth need to be safe from violence to thrive, and we applaud Kentucky leaders like Governor Steve Beshear, First Lady Jane Beshear, Senate President Robert Stivers, and House Speaker Greg Stumbo for making their safety a priority for the 2015 legislative session.