Law changes domestic abuse reporting requirements in Kentucky

A new law signed by Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin means a change in how domestic abuse victims can be helped. The law goes into effect June 29. Victims’ advocates say, even though you may not immediately think so, it’s a change for the better.

Property manager Krystle Koonce says even though she works with apartments, her job is about the people. Koonce says she knows what it’s like to question your safety. “There’s only one thing that goes through your head and it’s the importance of your own safety, your peace of mind," she says.

That’s why she says, as a landlord, a new law that allows domestic violence victims to break their leases is in everyone’s best interest. “You want to do the right thing for your resident," she says. 

According to a University of Kentucky study, 50 percent of women surveyed said they wouldn’t report abuse to their doctors or therapists if they knew their case would be reported to the state. Victim advocates say they hope the change in the law removes that barrier.

Merryman House Domestic Crisis Center Executive Director Mary Foley says she’s glad the law included a second part: That people are no longer required to report instances of domestic violence to the state. She says it may seem counterintuitive, but you have to consider the psychology of domestic violence.

“It allows victims an opportunity to disclose freely to the professionals they already interface with," Foley says. "It allows those professionals to have a voice and eyes on the situation, educate victims on resources available, and then get out of the way to get those resources.”

Under the new law, domestic violence victims will have to give 30 days’ notice and proof of a court order. Landlords cannot penalize or give negative references for breaking the lease.

Child abuse is not affected by this law. You are still required to report child abuse if you know or suspect it is happening.

As for the reporting part of the law, Foley wanted to emphasize that you should use common sense and still report instances where you believe people may be in danger.

Related Articles