Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Minors Filing for Domestic Violence Protective Orders - 2014 Indiana House Bill 1014

15 January 2014

Representative Kubacki, Chair of the House Committee on Family, Children and Human Affairs, has introduced a bill that will allow minors down to the age of 14 years to file for an order of protection using the Indiana Civil Protection Order Act [IC 34-26-5].

The synopsis of the bill is:
Minors filing protective orders. Allows a minor who: (1) is at least 14 years of age; and (2) is or has been a victim of domestic or family violence; to file an order for protection. Allows the matter to be transferred to a court with juvenile jurisdiction. Allows a court to appoint a guardian ad litem for the minor.

The bill is very concise. The amendments to the current act are to;
34-26-5-2 which provides that the persons who may petition for a DVPO include including a minor who is at least fourteen (14) years of age, and

34-26-5-19 which adds the second class of people to whom a GAL may be assigned.
(1) child of one (1) or both parents; or
(2) a minor described in section 2(a) of this chapter who files an order for protection under section 2(a) of this chapter.

In October of last year I posted about the Societal Acceptance of Domestic Violence Against the Most Vulnerable in which I noted the high rates of acts of Domestic Violence committed against children and the lack of a societal or legal response to these crimes. I applaud Representative Kubacki for seeking to give these most innocent victims an opportunity to protect themselves against violence occurring within their homes.

While I expect to hear arguments against this bill based upon the sovereignty of the home and family I do not feel that these have any legitimate basis. Existing statute which has all been upheld allows for criminal prosecutions for acts of violence against children within the family unit.

This bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. I urge strong support for this bill.

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