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LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 14, 2016) – The University of Kentucky's Office for Policy Studies on Violence Against Women (OPSVAW) in the College of Arts & Sciences and the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence (KCADV) Monday jointly released guidelines for how schools and universities can effectively ensure that students can access interpersonal protective orders (IPOs).
IPOs were created through HB 8 of the 2015 General Assembly, which became effective Jan. 1, 2016. They extend civil protections to victims of dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.
”The passage of 2015 HB 8 was an extraordinary accomplishment; it means little, however, if our students don’t know that civil protective orders are now available to them. 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,” said Carol E. Jordan, executive director of the OPSVAW.
“This is an opportunity to finally protect some of our most vulnerable citizens. Students living in campus housing or attending classes will now be able to go about their daily lives without being in constant fear,” said Sharon Currens, KCADV Executive Director.
Access to civil protective orders for high school and college students is a critical part of Kentucky’s response to dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. National studies have suggested that one in five women may be sexually assaulted while in college, and that women within the typical age bracket of college students experience the largest per capita rate of nonfatal intimate partner violence and the highest rate of stalking.
Finally, the U.S. National Crime Victimization Survey reported that women aged 16 to 19 are four times more likely than the general population to report rape or attempted rape.
“These data represent a clarion call for ensuring that high school and college students have access to IPOs,” said Carol Jordan. “Each statistic comes with a name and a face – a person who we need to protect,” she said.
“The availability of protective orders for students will present schools across the Commonwealth with the opportunity to do just that. Instead of dating violence going undetected and unaddressed, IPOs will give school administrators and staff a powerful and effective tool to deal with these potentially dangerous situations. 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,” said Mary Savage, KCADV’s Legal Counsel.
The partnership between the OPSVAW and the KCADV has produced two resource documents for schools: one designed for post-secondary institutions (colleges, universities, and community/technical colleges) and the second tailored to secondary institutions (K-12).
They are available on these websites: