1998 Session Laws: Domestic Violence, Stalking, and Sexual Assault Legislation

Violence against women remained an important legislative issue in 1998 with almost every state legislature in session passing legislation addressing this issue. Of 45 state legislatures in session this year (including the District of Columbia), only 4 states did not enact legislation directed at some aspect of violence against women. (All 4 states whose legislatures did not enact any legislation directed at violence against women and all 6 states whose legislatures were not in session in 1998 enacted such legislation in 1997.)

Legislative actions involving criminal law changes or criminal justice agency duties and responsibilities include:


1998 Legislative Action Number of States Acting
New domestic violence criminal or sentencing laws 8 states
New sexual assault sentencing laws 8 (including 4 with lifetime supervision laws)
Stalking criminal law amendment 11
Date rape legislation 8
Amendment of civil protective order laws 12
Stalking injunction authorization 2
Full Faith and Credit required 8
Sex offender registration amendment or enactment 24
Sex offender civil commitment 8
DNA data base amendment 11
Confidential communications with counselor 2
Firearm bar for conviction of domestic violence or court order 6
Address confidentiality program 2
Training in domestic violence 4
Medical exam costs paid by state 2
HIV testing of offender required or authorized 5

In sum, the 41 jurisdictions that enacted legislation directed at violence against women passed over 150 separate bills. Ninety-six of these bills are directed at sexual assault issues. Forty-eight new laws are directed at domestic violence. Sixteen new laws are aimed at stalking crimes. (Note, several bills include provisions directed at two or more topics.)

View state-by-state analysis of 1998 laws.

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