Oklahoma gets "A" rating for teen violence laws - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Oklahoma gets "A" rating for teen violence laws

Lawton_According to a study released on Tuesday by the advocacy group "Break the Cycle," when it comes to teen dating, violence laws in Oklahoma and four other states have earned Oklahoma an "A," rating.  The grades are based on the legal treatment of adult and teen victims of domestic violence.  In Oklahoma, someone as young as 16 years old can file for a protective order.

Court officials in Lawton say they don't take personal threats against teenagers lightly, and want to get the word out that they can file for a protective order whenever they feel there has been a genuine physical threat against them.  Court Advocate Dorothy Richardson says filing protective order, can make for a busy day at the office.  "Any time a person comes in for a protective order they are asking for help, they are asking for safety," she said.  And, that includes teenagers.  "A lot of times they can't talk to their parents about the situation, so it gives them the freedom and the liberty of being able to do that on their own.  It gives them a sense of responsibility," she said.

Fifth Judicial District Judge Ken Harris says Oklahoma's statutes covering teen domestic violence exist for a reason.  "The Protective Order Statute was written in the first place was so people who have relationships with other people know their routines - they know how to reach them when others aren't around," he said. 

While Oklahoma tops most states, there still are rules to follow when filing for protective orders.  "A single criminal assault is not the basis of a protective order," he said.  "It has to be more than one occasion, where it looks like the perpetrator has repetitively assaulted or threatened you."

If you are a teen who feels that you are in a situation you can't get out of and need help, call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 580-357-2500.  According to the study, twelve states received "D", ratings and 11 others failed.  To see the report for yourself, please visit http://www.breakthecycle.org/resources-state-law-report-cards-2009.html.
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