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Two new laws in effect today increase protections for survivors of domestic violence; training planned

Two new laws that increase protections for survivors of domestic violence go into effect today. 

The legislation replaces the state’s existing mandatory reporting requirement for spouse abuse with a mandatory education and referral requirement for all survivors of Intimate Partner Violence.

The law also requires landlords to provide new leasing protections for victims of domestic violence.
The mandatory education and referral legislation was pushed through the 2017 General Assembly by a coalition of more than 20 organizations organized by the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence (KCADV), an association of the state’s 15 domestic violence programs. 

Sen. Ralph Alvarado, of Winchester, sponsored the bill.  The leasing protection bill was sponsored by Rep. Melinda Gibbons Prunty of Greenville.


The mandatory education and referral law applies to more than 20 professionals — including licensed mental health professionals, school personnel, health care workers and clergy — whose occupations could put them in contact with victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse and stalking. Those professionals are required to give suspected victims educational materials about domestic violence and the state’s regional domestic violence programs and/or rape crisis centers, as well as information about how to access protective orders.
“KCADV believes the new laws will ensure that more victims of domestic violence have access to help.  Rather than receiving an anonymous phone call or letter, as they would have under the mandatory reporting law, victims will receive information about how to get help from a trusted medical professional, pastor, therapist, or other service provider,” says Sherry Currens, Executive Director of KCADV.  
Additionally, Kentucky law now prohibits landlords from refusing to rent to or evicting victims of violence solely on the basis of their status as a victim. The law also requires landlords to allow survivors with a long-term protective order to break their leases. Tenants with such court orders also will have the ability to change the locks of a rented residence, as long as they notify their landlords.
KCADV is offering training and resources to ensure successful implementation of the mandatory education and referral law. More information can be found on the KCADV website, www.kcadv.org.

Information about trainings for the leasing protection law will be available in August.

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