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Unexpected results from protection bill

October 20, 2011
Salem News

A year-old Ohio law intended to protect teenage girls from violent boyfriends may be doing some good - but not necessarily as state legislators intended.

Previously, only adults in Ohio could seek protective orders from the courts. Such orders require potentially violent adults to stay away from specific people.

But the new law allows juveniles to seek and obtain protective orders, too.

It was enacted in reaction to the 2005 death of a 17-year-old Toledo girl, killed by her ex-boyfriend.

The girl had tried to get a protective order against him, but was rejected.

During the past year, juveniles have obtained scores of protective orders, the Mansfield News Journal reported. Many of them have involved girls seeking protection from other girls. In Richland County, just one of nine requests for protective orders involving juveniles sought help against a male.

And in Franklin County, where Columbus is located, 25 of 71 protective orders have involved girl-against-girl disputes.

No doubt many Ohioans can remember a time when such violence was almost unheard of. But times - and social mores - have changed.

Some have questioned whether the law was needed, in view of the relatively low number of requests for protection from males. But violence is violence, regardless of the perpetrator's gender. If anything, the statistics indicate society in general needs to do more to prevent attacks on girls by girls.



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