The University of Kentucky and the Coalition Against Domestic Violence have released guidelines to help schools and universities navigate a new law that extends civil domestic violence protections to dating couples, including high school and college students.
The law, which became effective Jan. 1, created “interpersonal protective orders,” or IPOs, in addition to emergency protective orders. IPOs can be issued against those in dating relationships by family or district judges after a hearing. The judge can set conditions on the accused in an attempt to reduce future abuse.
National studies have suggested that one in every five women might be sexually assaulted while in college, and that women in the typical age bracket of college students experience the highest rate of nonfatal intimate partner violence and the highest rate of stalking. In addition, the U.S. National Crime Victimization Survey found that women ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely than the general population to report rape or attempted rape.
Getting the law approved last year by the Kentucky General Assembly “was an extraordinary accomplishment,” but it “means little, however, if our students don’t know that civil protective orders are now available to them,” said Carol Jordan, executive director of UK’s Office of Policy Studies on Violence Against Women. “The true effectiveness of our legislative effort, then, is wholly dependent upon what we can teach our students and what we can guide our educational institutions to do. That is the ultimate purpose for these new guidelines.”
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“IPOs will give school administrators and staff a powerful and effective tool to deal with these potentially dangerous situations,” said Mary Savage, legal counsel for the Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “A court order will clarify which protective measures the court deems appropriate and thus will give a school the framework upon which to craft a plan which creates a safe learning environment for students and staff.”