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West Virginia Domestic Abuse Laws and How to Get Help for Domestic Abuse

Introduction

Every person in the state of West Virginia enjoys the right to be secure and safe in their lives within his/her house and also be free from acts of domestic abuse. Even West Virginia has its domestic abuse law in place.

Domestic Abuse Laws in West Virginia

The criminal code in West Virginia has defined domestic violence/abuse as the commission of any of the acts mentioned bellow between household or family members:

  1. Trying to cause or recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally causing bodily harm to someone else without or with deadly or dangerous weapons
  2. Putting another person in reasonable fear of physical harm
  3. Committing either sexual abuse or sexual assault
  4. Abducting, detaining, confining, or holding another individual against the will of that person, or
  5. Creating scare of bodily harm by stalking, harassment, threatening acts, or psychological abuse

However, it is imperative to know that an act of domestic violence/abuse can only take place between household or family members. According to the law, a household or a family member can be only the people mentioned below:

  1. Spouses or former spouses
  2. Were or are living as spouses together
  3. Were or are sexual partners
  4. Were or are dating
  5. Were residing previously or are staying together in the same house
  6. The parties have a kid in common, or
  7. The parties have any of these relationships – sister or brother (whole or half), a stepparent or parent, mother-in-law or father-in-law, stepmother-in-law or stepfather-in-law, stepchild or child, son-in-law or daughter-in-law, stepson-in-law or stepdaughter-in-law, step-uncle or aunt, aunt-in-law, aunt, step-grandparent, grandparent, second or first cousin, nephew or niece, or uncle.

Restraining or protective orders in West Virginia

A victim of domestic violence/abuse in West Virginia has many tools available to combat abuse in the future. Restraining or protective orders cannot prevent a domestic abuser from abusing a victim. However, these orders enable the plaintiff to get the abuser arrested when the order is violated by the abuser.

Punishments for domestic battery and assault in West Virginia

  1. Domestic assault
    In West Virginia, the punishment for domestic assault is up to a maximum fine of 100 USD and/or a maximum jail term of 6 months. In case a domestic assault is the 2nd domestic violence committed by the offender, the guilty should pay a maximum fine of 500 USD and/or a jail term between 30 days and 6 months.
  1. Domestic battery
    In West Virginia, the punishment for domestic battery is a maximum fine of 500 USD and/or a maximum jail term of 1 year. In case a domestic battery is the 2nd domestic violence/abuse offense of the offender, then he/she has to pay a maximum fine of 1,000 USD, and/or a jail term between 60 days and 1 year.  If the domestic battery is the offender’s second domestic violence offense, the defendant must serve a minimum of sixty days or up to one year in jail or pay a fine up to $1000, or both.
  1. Domestic battery or assault – third offense
    Such an offense is considered a felony in the state and the convicted has to pay a maximum fine of 2,500 USD and/or a prison term between 1 year and 5 years.

West Virginia domestic abuse statistics

According to the Women’s Resource Center, the state of West Virginia is ranked 14 nationally with respect to the number of domestic violence/abuse homicides. So, this domestic abuse statistics denotes that on average, there are 2 homicides in a month.

How to get help for domestic abuse in West Virginia?

  1. West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  2. West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services, Inc. (WV FRIS)
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