Tackling domestic violence in Virginia


Domestic violence is an issue that concerns many Virginia residents. Family members or spouses may often feel trapped by the abuser. Many abuse victims even consider the abuse to be a necessary evil that they have to deal with in their daily lives. Under Virginia law a victim of abuse can seek a protective order from the court in order to protect themselves and family members from the abuser.

In certain areas in Virginia, if the person is experiencing abuse in a same-sex relationship, the abuse victim may ask for protection from the court. Civil law governs protective orders. That means that the abuser cannot be incarcerated for domestic violence solely on the basis of the protective order, although the abuser can be incarcerated if convicted in the criminal justice system. The protective order comes into effect only after the abuser receives a copy of the order. If the order is violated, the abuser may be charged with a crime.

If an abuser is served with an emergency protective order, that person must have no contact with the victim. An EPO can be obtained from a law enforcement officer or a magistrate. People of all ages can obtain an EPO. In certain cases of domestic violence, a person may be prevented from contacting the abuse victim for two years. The order may also be extended.

A police officer does not need a warrant to arrest a person who has committed domestic violence. The victim may also wish to contact a magistrate and file an arrest warrant.

The information in this post is general and is not intended as legal advice. A victim of domestic violence may wish to contact a legal professional for sound advice and guidance.

Source: DCGS.Virginia.gov, An Informational Guide for Domestic Violence Victims in Virginia Understanding The Legal Process for Victims of Family Abuse," Accessed on Sept. 17, 2014

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