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Review of State Laws Relevant to Violence Against Women: Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Stalking, and Related Laws

NCJ Number
Neal Miller
Date Published
December 2002
23 pages
This document provides a listing of State laws relevant to violence against women.
These laws are mostly related to domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. In 2002, 41 States enacted 232 laws relating to violence against women. These legislative actions included 36 States enacting 95 laws relating to domestic violence; 33 States enacting 12 laws relating to sexual assault; and 21 States enacting 33 laws relating to stalking. Most legislative activity was directed at amending the basics of violence against women laws, such as defining crimes and sex offender registration. There were also numerous innovative laws that addressed gaps in the existing statutory schemes. These included laws providing standing for employers to seek orders of protection on behalf of their employees (Indiana); and protection against loss of job or other discrimination because of the need to attend court or otherwise cooperate with law enforcement (California, Pennsylvania). There were also laws authorizing victim advocates to appear at court hearings (Florida); and providing orders of protection for sexual assault victims (Colorado). Some States enacted laws reflecting changes in the Violence Against Women Act of 2000, particularly the inclusion of dating relationships as potentially involving domestic violence (Florida). A State-by-State listing is provided of violence against women laws enacted in the 2002 legislative sessions. These laws were primarily identified through the Web sites maintained by the State legislators, legislative analysis bureaus, and educational institutions. Where advance legislative reporters were available, a review of these reports was also conducted. It is possible that a few new laws were not included due to indexing omissions. 2 footnotes, appendix