TEXAS, USA —
A new Texas law aims to help victims of family violence get better protection.
House Bill 1432 removes one of the hurdles to getting a protective order and gives victims more access to protective orders.
In the past, a person not only had to prove that violence had occurred to get a family violence protective order, but also that it was likely to occur again.
This new law takes out the part about needing to prove it will happen again.
Heather Bellino with Texas Advocacy Project said this law aims to give more people that safety and is more victim-centric.
"Honestly, it wasn't really needed if violence had occurred. We know that it's likely to occur again in the very threat that it may will make somebody unsafe," Bellino said.
Some people think the orders are just a piece of paper, but there is evidence that having a protective order makes a difference.
"We know that a victim with a protective order is 80% less likely to be revictimized again, Bellino said. "So, a protective order is a very powerful piece of paper. It is not just something that's been typed out, it's going to go in a desk and never be used. It saves lives."
House Bill 1432 also makes getting a family violence protective order consistent with one for stalking and sexual assault. Those don't require proving harm is likely to happen again, either.
The law went into effect on Sept. 1.
For anyone who may need help, you can reach out to the Texas Advocacy Project. They provide free legal services to anyone impacted by family, dating or sexual violence. Their number is 800-374-HOPE or 4673.