New Laws Regarding Domestic Violence and Stalking in Virginia

New Laws Regarding Domestic Violence and Stalking in Virginia

As of July 1, 2016, new laws took effect in Virginia in the following areas relevant to domestic violence, stalking and human trafficking:

1. Protective Orders (“POs”)

  • Emergency POs to prohibit respondents from being in the physical presence of their victims can be obtained. These include prohibiting a respondent from intentionally maintaining direct visual contact with the victim or unreasonably being within 100 feet from the victim’s residence or job.
  • Where a victim is not a tenant of a residence but obtains possession of the premises through a PO; the law outlines the process by which the victim may become a tenant, and alternatively grants the victim 30 days to vacate.
  • Amendments to the laws make it a Class 6 felony if a respondent violates a PO to stalk or cause bodily injury to a victim.
  • Respondents under Family Abuse POs may not “knowingly possess any firearm while the [PO] is in effect.” The law allows them 24 hours after being served with the PO to transport a firearm in order to sell or transfer it. The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services provides a list on their website of agencies willing to accept firearms from respondents under Family Abuse POs.

2. Stalking

  • It now is easier for prosecutors to obtain convictions for stalking; and there is a higher penalty for certain repeat stalking offenders as well as lower requirements to obtain a Class 6 felony charge.

3. Trafficking

  • Virginia law now provides a civil cause of action for any person injured by certain human trafficking violations, which allows victims to pursue financial recovery.

Seeking Help

If you need help or know someone who does, the following resources are available:

  • YWCA Domestic Violence Hotline – 804-643-0888
  • Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline – 1-800-838-8238
  • The victim advocate program at your local Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court

To explore a civil recovery for domestic violence or sexual assault, contact the Women’s Injury Law Center at Locke & Quinn at http://www.lockequinn.com/womens-injury-issues/ and quinn@lockequinn.com. This article was written by Colleen M. Quinn, Esq., and Kati Kitts Dean, Esq., and provides general information only. For more details, please be sure to contact an attorney.


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New Laws Regarding Domestic Violence and Stalking in Virginia


As of July 1, 2016, new laws took effect in Virginia in the following areas relevant to domestic violence, stalking and human trafficking:

1. Protective Orders (“POs”)

  • Emergency POs to prohibit respondents from being in the physical presence of their victims can be obtained. These include prohibiting a respondent from intentionally maintaining direct visual contact with the victim or unreasonably being within 100 feet from the victim’s residence or job.
  • Where a victim is not a tenant of a residence but obtains possession of the premises through a PO; the law outlines the process by which the victim may become a tenant, and alternatively grants the victim 30 days to vacate.
  • Amendments to the laws make it a Class 6 felony if a respondent violates a PO to stalk or cause bodily injury to a victim.
  • Respondents under Family Abuse POs may not “knowingly possess any firearm while the [PO] is in effect.” The law allows them 24 hours after being served with the PO to transport a firearm in order to sell or transfer it. The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services provides a list on their website of agencies willing to accept firearms from respondents under Family Abuse POs.

2. Stalking

  • It now is easier for prosecutors to obtain convictions for stalking; and there is a higher penalty for certain repeat stalking offenders as well as lower requirements to obtain a Class 6 felony charge.

3. Trafficking

  • Virginia law now provides a civil cause of action for any person injured by certain human trafficking violations, which allows victims to pursue financial recovery.

Seeking Help

If you need help or know someone who does, the following resources are available:

  • YWCA Domestic Violence Hotline – 804-643-0888
  • Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline – 1-800-838-8238
  • The victim advocate program at your local Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court

To explore a civil recovery for domestic violence or sexual assault, contact the Women’s Injury Law Center at Locke & Quinn at http://www.lockequinn.com/womens-injury-issues/ and quinn@lockequinn.com. This article was written by Colleen M. Quinn, Esq., and Kati Kitts Dean, Esq., and provides general information only. For more details, please be sure to contact an attorney.

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