SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – HB 50 the Dating Violence Prevention Act is now on the way to Governor Herbert’s desk awaiting his signature.
The bill aims to protect people in dating relationships, that means people who aren't married, don’t' have a child with, or don't live with their abuser. It would allow a victim of dating violence to get an order of protection. It's a bill nearly a decade in the making.
Student activist and supporter of HB 50 Whitney Norton told ABC 4 News. "The bill protects actual or imminent threat of violence, whether that's physical or emotional it's just to the judge's decision, but it includes all types of violence."
Similar bills have failed to pass congress for nearly 10 years. The bills sponsors say in that time 15 women, who were killed by their boyfriends, could have been saved by this law. This time around it had support on both sides of the aisle.
Men’s Anti-Violence Network Utah member Marty Liccardo said, "Honestly I think Jen Seelig and Sen. Bramble working together and creating bi-partisan legislation that met the needs of everybody in the Capitol and met the safety needs of the people in the state."
Supporters say Representative Seelig made people sit up and listen to the importance of this bill, even using herself as an example as someone this bill would protect.
Norton explained, "There was some opposition to the bill as far as identifying people in dating relationships, whether those relationships would lead to marriage, and one of the things she said that most caught people's attention was that she was not married herself, does that mean she's just failing at dating?"
Supporters say once the bill becomes law it could get the ball rolling to push for better legislation to protect teens from dating violence.