State Legislation on Domestic Violence

Consider these statistics from the CDC’s first National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, released this week: “1 in 4 women have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner while 1 in 7 men experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner.”

The 2010 survey is the first year of the survey and provides baseline data that will be used to track trends in sexual violence, stalking and intimate partner violence. It includes detailed state tables that give “lifetime estimates of the prevalence of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence.” Here is Suggested State Legislation on domestic violence.

Prohibiting Employers from Discriminating Against Domestic Violence Victims.  Hawaii Act 206 of 2011 prohibits employers from discriminating against victims of domestic or sexual violence in certain employment-related situations if the victim notifies the employer of such status or the employer has actual knowledge. It requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees who are victims of domestic or sexual violence and that doing so does not cause undue hardship to the operations of the employer. It allows employers to request verification of employees’ continued status within specified time frames. The Act creates a civil remedy for employee-victims denied reasonable accommodations. The Hawaii Act is the basis for a 2013 SSL draft.  

A 2010 SSL draft, GPS Tracking of Domestic Violent Offenders, is based on Michigan Act 192, Public Acts of 2008. The Act:

• allows a judge or district court magistrate to order a defendant charged with a crime involving domestic violence, to carry or wear a global positioning system (GPS) device as a condition of release;

• allows the court, with the victim's informed consent, to order the defendant to give the victim a device to receive information from the defendant’s GPS device;

• allows the victim to give the court a list of areas from which he or she wanted the defendant excluded, and require the court to consider the request;

• requires the court to instruct the global positioning monitoring system to notify the proper authorities if the defendant violated the order;

• allows the defendant to be released only if he or she agreed to pay the GPS costs or perform community service in lieu of payment;

• provides that the victim could request the court to terminate his or her participation in GPS monitoring of the defendant at any time; and

• requires the court to impose a condition that the defendant not purchase or possess a firearm.

Michigan’s law is similar to Massachusetts Chapter 418, Acts of 2006. That Massachusetts law directs that when a defendant has been found in violation of an abuse prevention order or a protection order issued by another jurisdiction, the court may, as an alternative to incarceration and, as a condition of probation, prohibit contact with the victim through the establishment of court defined geographic exclusion zones including, but not limited to, the areas in and around the complainant’s residence, place of employment, and the complainant’s child’s school, and order that the defendant to wear a global positioning satellite tracking device designed to transmit and record the defendant’s location data. If the defendant enters a court defined exclusion zone, the defendant’s location data shall be immediately transmitted to the complainant, and to the police, through an appropriate means including, but not limited to, the telephone, an electronic beeper or a paging device.

Substitute Address for a Victim of Domestic Abuse. New Mexico HB 216 (enrolled version), enacted in 2007, allows victims of domestic violence or a representative to create a substitute address for them if there is a good reason to believe the victim’s safety is at risk. The address will remain confidential and guarded from databases to ensure further safety of victims. These addresses can be used by the victim when interacting with any public agency, like school districts or the motor vehicle department. This helps ensure that an abuser is unable to track a victim through these agencies. The 2009 SSL draft is based on New Mexico’s law.

Civil No-Contact Orders for the Protection of Employees from Workplace Violence.  North Carolina Session Law 2004-165 creates a new procedure to allow an employer to obtain a civil no-contact order against a person who has harmed, threatened to harm, or stalked an employee of the employer.

Upon a finding that the employee has been the victim of unlawful conduct, the court is authorized to issue temporary or permanent orders restraining the conduct of the perpetrator. “Unlawful conduct” is defined to include bodily injury, attempted bodily injury, stalking and communicating a threat. Permissible remedies include ordering the perpetrator not to:

• Visit, assault, molest or interfere with the employee or the employer at the workplace;

• Stalk the employee at the workplace;

• Harass, abuse or injure the employee or employer at the workplace; or

• Contact the employee or employer by any means at the workplace.

Temporary orders may be granted for up to 10 days and may be issued ex parte and after normal business hours under certain circumstances. Permanent orders may be granted for up to one year. All orders may be renewed. A 2006 SSL draft is based on this North Carolina law.

Civil No-Contact Orders for the Protection of People Who Are Victims of Stalking or Nonconsensual Sexual Contact. North Carolina Session Law 2004-194 authorizes courts to issue protective orders, similar to domestic violence orders, in situations where someone has been a victim of stalking or nonconsensual sexual conduct committed by a person with whom the victim is not in a domestic relationship. Upon a finding that the victim has suffered unlawful conduct, the court is authorized to issue temporary or permanent orders restraining the conduct of the perpetrator. “Unlawful conduct” is defined to include nonconsensual sexual conduct and stalking. “Nonconsensual sexual conduct” is defined as any intentional or knowing touching, fondling or sexual penetration by a person, directly or through clothing, of the sexual organs of another for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal where consent is not freely given. A “victim” is defined as a person against whom unlawful conduct is committed other than in a situation where an action could be brought under the domestic violence laws.

Under this Act, the victim, or a person acting on the behalf of an incompetent victim, may bring an action. The Act allows an action under this law to be brought without paying filing fees to the clerk of court or service fees to the sheriff. If the court finds that the victim suffered unlawful conduct, the court may order the perpetrator not to visit, assault, molest or otherwise interfere with the victim, and order the perpetrator to cease stalking, harassing, abusing, injuring, or contacting the victim by telephone, written communication or electronic means. The court may also order the perpetrator to stay away from the victim including prohibitions against entering the victim’s residence, school, place of employment or other specified places at times when the victim is present. Temporary orders may be granted for up to 10 days and may be issued ex parte and after normal business hours under certain circumstances. Permanent orders may be granted for up to one year. All orders may be renewed. Violations of an order are punished as contempt of court. A 2006 SSL draft is based on this North Carolina law.

Tags: