GCADV applauds measures to support survivors of intimate partner and sexual violence

press release from the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence (GCADV).

ATLANTA, GA – July 1, 2021 – Today, two important laws to help protect survivors of intimate partner and sexual violence came into effect. Senate Bill 75, allows for the termination of a residential lease for victims of stalking. House Bill 231 allows for victims of dating violence, who were not previously covered under Georgia’s code, to obtain temporary protective orders.
“Stalking is a well-established lethality indicator in intimate partner homicide. Data also shows that states that include protections for victims of dating violence have seen an 11 percent reduction in the total rate of intimate partner homicides. The passage of both SB 75 and HB 231 are important steps forward in creating a state where everyone feels safe,” said Jan Christiansen, Executive Director at the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence (GCADV). 
SB 75 is an extension of legislation passed in 2018 that allowed victims of intimate partner violence who had been granted a family violence protective order to break their lease in 30 days without penalty. Now those who have been granted stalking protective orders can do the same. The extension of this measure to victims of stalking brings recognition to the fact that stalking is a largely invisible behavior, one that is identified with 58 percent of all fatal domestic violence incidents.
Previously, Georgia victims of abuse who were not married, did not live with, or did not have a child with their abusive partner were unable to obtain a temporary protective order (TPO). This overlooked the fact that young women ages 16-24 experience the highest rates of abuse, at a rate almost triple the national average (Love is Respect, 2015) and 49 percent of Georgia victims killed by their abuser began the relationship between the ages of 13-24 (Georgia Domestic Violence Fatality Review Project, 2018). HB 231 closes the gap for victims of dating violence to obtain potentially lifesaving relief through TPOs.
Additionally, legislators passed $1.7 M in appropriations for domestic violence centers and $1 M for sexual assault centers and two newly certified domestic violence shelters. These funds help to fill a shortfall caused by federal funding cuts to the Victims of Crime Act, known as VOCA.
“Legislators are taking important steps to ensure safety for victims of intimate partner and sexual violence. There is still much to be done to prevent violence and address abuse. As we look ahead to the next legislative session, we are organizing around issues that continue to be of significance to survivors including economic and social justice policies,” said Karimah Dillard, Director of Policy and Community Engagement at GCADV.
GCADV celebrates these wins alongside its Stand with Survivors Advocacy Days co-sponsors, the Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault, the Georgia Women’s Policy Institute of YWCA, and Raksha Inc.
To find a domestic violence program near you, call Georgia’s 24-Hour Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline – 1.800.33.HAVEN (1.800.334.2836)
To find a sexual assault center near you, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline – 1.800.656.HOPE (1.800.656.4673)

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