State Law Report Cards

Break the Cycle believes teen victims of dating violence deserve the same legal protections that adult victims of domestic abuse receive. Young victims should have access to the legal system and other sensitive services needed to ensure their safety.

Unfortunately, teens often face overwhelming obstacles to these basic legal protections, many of which are written into their states' laws.

To call attention to this critical situation, Break the Cycle created the State Law Report Cards. The Report Cards survey the civil domestic violence protection order laws of all fifty states and the District of Columbia, assessing their impact on teens seeking protection from abusive relationships.

2010 State Law Report Cards

Here are the highlights from the 2010 State Law Report Cards:

  • The grading system, developed with the University of Minnesota, more accurately assesses the law's responsiveness to the unique needs of teen and young adults.
  • The expanded Report Cards include information on minors' access to sensitive services and school response to dating violence through policy or prevention education.
  • We created new supplemental Report Cards for Teens with information about seeking a protection order and the availability of other necessary services.

Does Your State Make the Grade?

Alabama F Kentucky F North Dakota D
Alaska B Louisiana C Ohio F
Arizona B Maine B Oklahoma A
Arkansas C Maryland C Oregon D
California A Massachusetts B Pennsylvania D
Colorado C Michigan C Rhode Island A
Connecticut C Minnesota B South Carolina F
Delaware B Mississippi B South Dakota F
District of Columbia A Missouri F Tennessee B
Florida B Montana C Texas C
Georgia F Nebraska C Utah F
Hawaii C Nevada C Vermont B
Idaho C New Hampshire A Virginia F
Illinois A New Jersey B Washington A
Indiana B New Mexico B West Virginia B
Iowa C New York B Wisconsin D
Kansas C North Carolina C Wyoming C

Thank you to the attorneys of Latham and Watkins, LLP and the University of Minnesota researchers who generously gave their time to this project.

New Cards Due 2013

After a few years off, Break the Cycle is back to work updating the State Law Report Cards. Check back soon for news about the 2013 edition.

Obviously, some states have changed their laws since we published the 2010 State Law Report Cards. If you know of a change or want an update on your state, email us at policy@breakthecycle.org.