Legal Advocacy & Policy

We know that one in three teens will experience some form of abuse during a dating relationship. Dating violence takes the form of physical, mental, emotional, digital, and/or sexual abuse, or any behavior that manipulates or coerces an intimate partner.  Abuse is always a crime, that holds true regardless of your age.  If you are under 18, there are legal protections available, however they require the help of an adult. Below are legal options to consider if you find yourself in an unhealthy relationship.

  • Temporary Protective Orders- In the case of physical and sexual abuse, individuals can file for a temporary protective order (TPO). TPO’s provide legal security and safety, similar to a restraining order. TPO’s can be filed with your county courthouse. If you are under the age of 18 you must have an adult file on your behalf.  This adult does not have to be your legal guardian. Protection orders require the abuser to stay away from you.  This can provide legal support and safety for leaving a violent relationship. If you are 18 or older you can file a TPO on your own, however you must either live in the same household or share a child with the perpetrator.
  • Title IX – If you are in school or university, the Title IX office will be able to assist you and provide accommodations for your situation. Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex and gender and will work with you to facilitate the continuation of your education and activities while putting in place protections from the abuser.

There are legal options and resources available for survivors of dating violence, to help ensure that survivors are protected from harm. If you or a loved one are experiencing dating violence, reach out to your local domestic violence organization for information and assistance.

For more information, please rewatch our Facebook Live event from Thursday, February 18th entitled “Know Your Rights: Legal & Policy Protections for Safe Dating”. This virtual event featured Jill Schirling-Alison, Managing Legal Advocate at Partnership Against Dating Violence; Alana Intrieri, Director of Policy at YWCA Greater Atlanta; Erika Voreh, Staff Attorney at Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation; and Jeffrey Brown, Vice President of Development & Marketing at Partnership Against Domestic Violence.