Virginia Domestic Abuse Laws and How to Get Help for Domestic Abuse
Domestic abuse is a serious criminal offense that always seems to be making the headlines. State legislatures in the USA slightly differ in their individual definition of domestic abuse and the penalties for the abuse. Among 52 states in the USA 38 states put domestic violence within criminal code. The broad definition of domestic violence includes any form of physical, emotional, and economic abuse along with harassment and stalking.
Child witness of domestic abuse
Some states in the USA also consider a minor witnessing domestic violence as a form of domestic abuse. Till now 23 states in the USA have taken legal action against a child witnessing domestic violence in the household. Some prosecutors charge it as aggravated circumstances, while others charge it as a separate criminal offense. This charge becomes an amalgamation of neglect, domestic violence, and child abuse.
Need to report domestic abuse?
If you are a victim of domestic violence in Virginia you can report it and get help by contacting the National Domestic Violence Hotline number at 1-8000-799-7233, in case of any emergency.
There are numerous other NGOs and organizations in and around Virginia that help the victims of domestic violence in Virginia. They help with the legal requirements and work to spread awareness about domestic violence. The month of October is Domestic Violence awareness month. Public education about domestic violence and about domestic abuse laws helps the public to be more aware and sympathetic towards the issue.
Domestic violence laws in Virginia
In the state of Virginia, domestic violence is defined as a method or aggressive pattern of behavior to control the household and family members. Domestic violence is also referred to as family violence in Virginia. Domestic violence is used as a way to establish hierarchy or control in a relationship. Typically the abuser wants to dominate the member of the household or the partner by means of psychological abuse and physical violence.
The domestic abuse laws are categorized under ‘assault and battery’ against household or family member. The statute is coded under Title 18, Chapter 4 of Article $ of Virginia criminal laws.
Domestic violence includes any act that involves force, violence, the threat of kidnapping or forceful detention, bodily harm or physical injury that is committed on one member of the household or family by another member.
Penalties for domestic abuse in Virginia
Domestic violence in the state of Virginia generally falls under Class 1 misdemeanor. The punishment for which is imprisonment for up to one year with a fine of up to two thousand five hundred dollars. However, if the defendant is a repeat offender then it elevates to a Class 6 felony, that is penalized by one to five years in prison. Depending on the number of convictions and the discretion of the jury or the Judge, the sentence is decided.
Legal protection provided by Virginia state
Along with criminal prosecution, there are a few public protection that is available for the victims in Virginia. The following are two of the protective facilities that a victim can avail in Virginia:
Protective Orders: The victim of domestic violence can apply for a preliminary protective order. If the request-id sanctioned by the judge then the victim will get protection from the state for a fixed period of time.
Address Confidentiality Program: Instead of their physical address the victims can get a substitute legal address. This address can be used whenever it is needed by a public agency. Mail sent to the substitute address is then sent to the victim’s local address.
The victims of domestic violence can also file a civil lawsuit to recover expenses and losses such as suffering or pain damages or medical bills.
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