St. Mary's Law Journal


The Texas legislature should eliminate the relationship requirement for a protective order. Although the Texas legislature passed the Kristy Appleby Act, which expanded the definition of dating violence, some victims of domestic violence may still be unable to qualify for a protective order. Specifically, some third-party individuals in a love triangle may not be eligible to receive a protective order. In Texas, a potential or current victim of domestic abuse needs to demonstrate a relationship with the perpetrator. Despite the broadened definition of relationship, some potential victims may still be unable to meet this burden. If the person cannot, they are ineligible to receive a protective order and will remain vulnerable to violence. The Texas legislature is reluctant to eliminate the relationship requirement because of the potential of overburdening family courts with frivolous claims. The potential abuse, however, can be thwarted by judges carefully reviewing the allegations and issuing pre-hearing orders after determining that the applicant is at risk of imminent harm. Nonetheless, it is imperative that all potential and current victims have access to protective orders to deter future or further violence. Protective orders send a strong message to the abuser that the court will do what is necessary to protect victims and hold abusers accountable for their actions. Furthermore, protective orders assist victims to regain a sense of self-control. Although the Texas legislature has broadened who qualifies for a protective order, the protective order law must continue to evolve to protect any third-party in danger of domestic abuse.


St. Mary's University School of Law