Until recently, legal fictions, social prejudices, and criminal justice apathy and ignorance combined to define domestic violence as a nonevent. Society’s acceptance of domestic violence has significantly waned in the past decade, however.1  New laws in many states now criminalize abusive behavior that was accepted, although not necessarily approved, 15 years ago.2  Among the more significant advances in criminal law relating to domestic violence are (1) the adoption of antistalking laws in 50 states where there were none in 1989;3  (2) repeal or limitation of states’ spousal exception laws in rape cases 4; and (3) passage of new family battery laws that provide unique penalties in family-related assault and battery cases.5

Other laws reform the criminal process to make arrest and prosecution of abusers easier. For example, every state now permits warrantless arrests in misdemeanor domestic violence cases—subject to a police officer’s determination that probable cause exists to believe domestic violence occurred.6

Civil protective laws to protect abused spouses and other family members have become integrated with the criminal law to augment the protections offered by the former. In almost all states, violation of a court order of protection is a crime; in some it is a felony, in others a misdemeanor.7  Police officers are authorized to arrest order violators without a warrant, based on a determination of probable cause. Similarly, advances in information technology used by criminal justice agencies, such as state-wide law enforcement computerized criminal record communication systems, now improve police abilities to enforce civil law injunctions.8

Many states have also updated their civil protective laws that provide for court injunctions against domestic violence. These changes include broadening the category of persons who may seek court protection to include non-married couples 9 and eliminating the need for victims to pay court fees to invoke the protection of the court.10

Finally, new training mandates ensure that police, prosecutors, and judges will be better informed about the social and personal costs of domestic violence and how these criminal justice actors can best act to reduce such incidents.11

State Variations

Not every state has adopted every type of law cited above; nor has every state adopted the most protective law possible.12  Indeed, the states have adopted widely variant statutory models that in some instances reflect strong legislative intent to protect domestic violence victims; in other instances the laws perhaps reflect more compromise than fervor. Among the key indicators of the depth of protection offered are

One additional issue that must be included in any assessment of the variation among state domestic violence laws is the integration of domestic violence with states’ victim rights acts. For example, many states’ laws provide that police officers responding to a domestic violence call must inform the "victim" of his or her rights, such as the right to a court protective order, and of available services such as shelter availability.13  In other states without such statutory requirements, there are broad victim rights acts that provide generally for police and prosecutor informing of rights.14  Finally, there are states where both types of laws coexist.15

Legislative Review

As part of a larger study to examine police and prosecutor responses to domestic violence,16 we reviewed state laws affecting how police and prosecutors perform their duties in domestic violence cases.17  Special attention was paid to states’ penal and criminal procedure laws that set out agency staff duties and provide for staff training. No systematic attempt was made, however, to examine state court decisions ruling on the constitutionality of state laws that may be subject to such challenges (e.g., stalking laws, marital exception to sex assault laws). Thus, this review may count laws that are, in fact, inoperative in whole or part under court interpretation.18

Criminal Code Provisions

The starting point for understanding police and prosecutor responses to domestic violence is determining what laws they are required to enforce. These laws include both traditional (common law) offenses and more recent provisions that explicitly criminalize domestic violence and related offenses. Other provisions criminalize violation of a civil order of protection issued by the court, complementing the common law offense of criminal contempt of court.19

Traditional Offenses

Common law crimes that may be invoked in domestic violence incidents include homicide offenses, assault and battery, and criminal trespass. Needless to say, every state provides criminal penalties for homicide and assault and battery. All but a few states punish criminal trespass.20

State laws against rape, another common law offense, present a different picture, however. Until recently, many states’ laws provided for a marital exemption defense to charges of rape of an offender’s spouse.21  Most states have now abolished the marital defense in toto.

State Variations. Two states’ laws provide for a limited exemption where spousal complaint of rape is delayed past 30 days of the incident.22  Six states repeal the spousal exemption where the couple is living apart under a separation agreement; two of these have separate spousal assault laws.23  Three other states provide for a marital exemption in lesser offenses, but repeal it for forcible rape cases.24  One other state maintains a spousal exemption for rape, but substitutes a new spousal sexual assault law.25  Finally, 2 other states have enacted separate spousal sexual assault laws that are part of their code provisions for rape and related crimes.26

Domestic Violence Crimes

Just as some states have adopted spousal sexual assault laws as supplements to traditional rape laws, 37 states have adopted domestic battery laws that complement common law assault and battery.27 The primary purpose of these laws is to provide enhanced penalties, especially for repeat offenses and to ensure equality of treatment for victims of domestic violence.28

State Variations: In 8 of these states, a single violation of the domestic violence criminal law may be a felony.29  In 7 states, a second domestic violence offense is treated as a felony.30  And in 16 states, a third domestic violence misdemeanor conviction calls for felony sentencing.31  Even where domestic assault is treated as a misdemeanor, the criminal codes of 8 states provide for a mandatory minimum jail sentence.32  Of special interest is a Wisconsin law providing for a two-year enhancement for a repeat domestic assault occurring within 72 hours of release after arrest from a first domestic abuse incident.33  Finally, 8 states now provide enhanced penalties when domestic violence is committed in the presence of a minor 34 and two states provide enhanced penalties for assault on a pregnant woman.35

Stalking and Related Offenses

A common corollary of domestic violence, especially after a court order of protection has been issued, is the offense of stalking. The new stalking laws supplement the older harassment and threatening laws that were found ineffective when dealing with less aggressive lurking and the like. First enacted in 1990 by California, every state has now adopted a stalking law to deal with more sophisticated harassments and implicitly threatening behavior.36

State Variations. In 36 states, a first stalking offense may be treated as a felony;37 in 26 of these states stalking may also be a misdemeanor, depending on the specific conduct involved.38  Of the remaining 14 states, 11 provide for felony treatment only for a second 39 or third (3 states) stalking offense conviction.40  In the District of Columbia, a second stalking conviction calls for a maximum of 18 months jail time; a third offense, for 3 years.41  In no state is stalking always a misdemeanor, even for repeat offenses.42

Stalking-related laws in the states include provisions barring harassment (26 states),43  threats and intimidation (36 states and the District of Columbia),44  telephone threats or harassment (43 states),45  and letter threats (20 states).46  In most instances, these laws only provide for misdemeanor penalties, reflecting the fact that they historically precede the stalking laws that impose more severe penalties. Ten states provide enhanced felony penalties for harassment or stalking of a minor.47

Court Order Violation Crimes

Every state provides for a court order of protection against domestic violence.48  Typically, these orders mandate that the abuser stay away from the abuse victim and enjoin any further violence.

State Variations. Forty-three states and the District of Columbia make violation of the court order of protection against domestic violence a separate criminal offense.49  In 3 other states, violation of an order may be subject to a special criminal trespass law.50  Even in those states where there is no criminal penalty, violation of a court order of protection may be punished by a court finding of criminal contempt, which typically calls for misdemeanor-level penalties.51   In only 5 states can a single violation of a court protection order be treated as a felony; 52 in the remainder it is a misdemeanor. However, in 6 states, repeat violations of a court order may constitute a felony.53  In addition, 1 state makes it a felony to violate a criminal protection order issued as part of a sentence after conviction for a domestic violence-related crime.54 Three other states make an assault in violation of a protective order to be a felony; violations not involving assaults are misdemeanors.55 A mandatory minimum sentence for repeat order violations is established in 4 states.56

Twenty-six states authorize issuance of a civil protection order against stalking, regardless of whether there is any related domestic violence.57 Violation of an antistalking order can be a criminal offense in 24 of these states, often at a higher level than that authorized for violation of a domestic violence protective order.58

State Variations. Nine of the 24 states with explicit criminal penalties for violating a stalking protective order make a first such violation a felony offense.59 Of the remaining states, 5 provide for enhanced felony penalties for a repeat violation of a stalking protective order.60 Eleven states provide only misdemeanor penalties, while the eleventh state provides for felony penalties only where there is an aggravated assault involved in the order violation.61

Other Related Crimes

Other related crimes in the state penal codes include tampering or intimidation of witness (26 states) 62 and interfering with reporting of a crime (9 states).63  One state’s laws even include interfering with access to a medical facility or shelter and trespass at a domestic violence shelter to be crimes.64  Another state makes trespass on a shelter premise a misdemeanor.65  Two other states make it a misdemeanor to maliciously disclose of the location of a domestic violence shelter.66  Yet another new stalking-related crime in 2 states is privacy violation.67

Criminal Procedure

Warrantless Arrest: Domestic Violence

One of the most important innovations in domestic violence cases has been a change in the common law rule authorizing police to make warrantless arrests in misdemeanor cases only where they actually see the crime committed. As of 2000,68 all states authorize warrantless arrests of domestic violence offenders based solely on a probable cause determination that an offense occurred and that the person arrested committed the offense (the common law standard used for felony cases).69  In 21 states and the District of Columbia police arrest is required when the officer determines that probable cause exists.70

State Variations. Nine states place time or "noticeable injury" limits on the exercise of an officer’s discretionary power to arrest.71  Mandatory arrest authority is subject to some time or noticeable injury limitations in 10 states 72 and limited to felony assaults in 3 states.73  In 8 states, an arrest for domestic violence is the preferred action;74 officers who fail to arrest in these states must usually explain why they did not do so in a written incident report.75  Two of the states whose laws state a preference for arrest, however, place time limits on such action.76

State Variations. Surprisingly, only one state mandates that a police officer seek an arrest warrant where arrest is not authorized due to expiration of a time limit after the domestic violence occurred;77 one other state mandates seeking a warrant where an arrest could not be made for any reason.78

Warrantless Arrests: Court Order Violations

Violation of a court order of protection is a crime in most states, and state laws in all but two states and the District of Columbia authorize warrantless arrests based on a probable cause determination that the order has been violated.79

State Variations. In 31 states, arrest for violating the court order is mandated 80 and in 1 state it is preferred (mandated arrest authority may be set by local policy).81  In 15 states, only discretionary arrest is authorized for violating a order of protection;82 in contrast, 6 of these 15 states establish a preferred or mandated arrest policy in domestic violence incidents.83

Centralized Order Registration Systems

A prerequisite to police arrest for violating a protective order is determining the validity of the victim’s assertion of a valid protective order. To facilitate police recognition of a court order of protection against domestic violence, 36 states have established centralized registries for protection orders.84 Typically these laws require police to enter court orders within a short period after receipt of the order from the court.

Incident Reports

In 35 states and the District of Columbia, police officers are required to file incident reports in domestic violence cases.85  These reports typically will include reasons why no arrest was made or why dual arrests were made.86

State Variations. In 14 states, reports of all domestic violence incidents must be forwarded to state authorities and will usually be tabulated for inclusion in the state Uniform Crime Reports.87  In 2 states, copies of incident reports must be forwarded to the district attorney where no arrest was made.88

Citation Release

A common legislative reform of state bail laws is to authorize police to issue citations in lieu of arrest. This saves officer time and reserves jail resources for the cases requiring incarceration. However, inappropriate use of citation is especially problematic in cases where there is a potential for violence, often the situation with domestic violence police calls.

State Variations. In 14 states, the criminal procedure laws explicitly bar police officer use of a citation or appearance ticket in lieu of a formal arrest.89  In 1 other state, the officer may not issue a citation where there is a possible danger to the victim.90  In 4 of the states barring the use of a citation in lieu of an arrest, the arrest itself is discretionary, neither preferred nor mandated.91  But in one state that places no restrictions on police citation, domestic violence arrestees must be fingerprinted.92  In one other state, the bail schedule used by the court is increased in domestic violence cases.93  Finally, two states authorize police or the magistrate to hold persons arrested for family violence for a short period after posting of bail;94 one another state authorizes either preventive detention or electronic monitoring where danger to the victim is found;95 and a fourth state prohibits the use of nonmonetary bail at first appearance in dangerous crimes, including domestic violence and stalking.96

Criminal Protective Order

A number of states also authorize or even mandate that the arraigning court issue a criminal protective order as a condition of bail or other form of pretrial release. Violation of a criminal protective order may result in either the release order being reversed or even additional criminal charges.97

State Variations. In 5 states, arrest is mandated for violation of a criminal no-contact order issued as part of pretrial release order.98  In 3 of these states, a violator of any prerelease condition is subject to mandatory arrest.99  In a fifth state, arrest for violation of bail conditions is discretionary.100

Prosecutor Duties

Although prosecutors have not been a central focus of legislators concerned about domestic violence, state victim rights act provisions relating to the prosecutors are relevant. In many of states, these laws place responsibility on prosecutors to inform crime victims of their procedural and substantive rights (e.g., to compensation);101 and in half these states, the laws require the prosecutor to meet with the victim about their decisions to charge the defendant, accept a plea to reduced charge, or to make a sentencing recommendation to the judge after conviction.102

State Variations. Only 1 state explicitly places responsibility for dealing with victims on prosecutors in domestic violence cases as such.103  In 2 states, state law places limitations on the prosecutors’ ability to plea bargain.104  And one other state requires local prosecutors to have written policies on domestic violence prosecution.105

Police and Prosecutor Training and Guidelines

Police Training

The many changes in law that have occurred in the creation of new crimes and in the enforcement of these laws underscore the policy determination that training in domestic violence is needed by police and prosecutors.

State Variations. State legislators have enacted laws that require police entry-level training to include domestic violence in 30 states and the District of Columbia.106  Related training requirements have been enacted for sex crimes in 6 states.107  Other related, required training includes violent crime prevention and investigation,108 violent crimes, including stalking,109 victim rights,110 victim needs,111 and crisis intervention.112  The minimum content of the required domestic violence entry training is specified by statute in 21 states.113 Alaska law, for example, requires that domestic violence training include materials on state laws, crime incidence and significance, and service providers.114  Other topics include techniques to minimize threats to officer and victim safety, the investigation and management of domestic violence cases, report writing, shelters, and written notice of victim rights.115

State Variations. Only 7 states require in-service domestic violence police training to complement entry training requirements.116  Two states and the District of Columbia require in-service training where the officers had no entry training in domestic violence.117  One reason for this smaller number of states compared to that for entry training is the absence in many states’ laws of any reference generally to state standards for in-service training.

Police Guidelines

A related state requirement in 18 states is for local written policies and procedures for the handling of domestic violence cases.118

State Variations. State legislation relating to policies and procedures includes that of 8 states where a central agency (e.g., Attorney General) is responsible for drafting minimum uniform or model standards for local agencies to use in drafting their local policies and procedures.119  More limited legislation is found in 3 states that require local written guidelines for verification of protective orders.120  One other state, conversely, requires the Attorney General to set standards for police crime victim duties.121

Prosecutor Training and Operations

Much less attention has been paid to the training and performance of prosecutors.

State Variations. Only 4 states require that prosecutors be trained in the handling of domestic violence cases.122  Three other states’ laws authorize the availability of such training to prosecutor offices.123  Another 3 states’ laws provide for victim assistance training to be made available.124

Miscellaneous laws relating to prosecutors include:


The major policy question requiring analysis is, How "good" are the states’ laws against domestic violence? Answering this question requires the identification of model legislative guidelines. Application of these guidelines allows us then to identify those states that best encompass the provisions found in the guidelines. A more detailed look at how these guidelines can be used is then demonstrated by using the state of Pennsylvania’s laws as a case example for needed change.

Legislative Guidelines

Drawing upon existing legislation as a guide, domestic violence legislative guidelines for police and prosecutors include:

Substantive Criminal Law Provisions

Criminal Procedure Provisions


The several criminal code and criminal procedure laws detailed above parallel in many ways the "Criminal Penalties and Procedures" provisions of the Model Code on Domestic and Family Violence developed by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.133  The Model Code, however, is a much broader document and includes provisions not discussed here, including civil orders of protection, custody of children, and prevention of treatment. Among the more significant differences between the listing above and those of the Model Code are the specification in the former of separate domestic violence crimes (the Model Code simply provides for enhanced penalties for a second domestic violence-related offense such as assault and battery134), explicit repeal of any spousal or marital exemption to the sexual assault laws, and requiring police to seek a warrant where immediate arrest is not possible. Nonetheless, the Model Code is a good quick resource for those seeking additional discussion of many of the issues raised here and many others not discussed here. Most importantly, the Model Code provides specific legislative language for implementing the recommendations here.

Assessing State Legislation I: The National Perspective

The states with the best overall legislation for combating domestic violence from a criminal justice perspective135 include California, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. All of these states make domestic violence a crime (California makes it a felony).136  California also has a separate provision for sexual assault of spouse.137  None of these states recognizes a spousal exemption for rape. All four states make violation of a protective order a crime and also authorize criminal contempt proceedings.138

California makes stalking a felony 139 while the other three states provide felony treatment for repeat stalking.140  All four states provide for civil orders of protection in stalking cases, with criminal penalties for their violation.141  California and Wisconsin also provide separate penalties for telephone threats.142  Wisconsin makes harassment a Class A misdemeanor.143

California provides for preferred arrests in domestic violence cases and in order violations; local policy sets standards for mandatory arrest in order violation cases.144  Minnesota law mandates arrest in order violation cases and authorizes discretionary arrest in domestic violence cases within 12 hours of their occurrence.145  Rhode Island mandates arrest without a warrant in both types of cases where the arrest is within 24 hours of the incident; officers must seek a warrant where arrest is not possible.146  Wisconsin also mandates arrest in both types of cases; arrest in domestic violence cases must be made within 28 days of the incident and there must be physical injury or a threat of injury.147  Three of the four states (except California) require written incident reports by the police.148  Three of the four states (except Wisconsin) bar the use of citations in lieu of arrest.149  All four states require written policies and procedures for the handling of domestic violence cases;150  both Minnesota and Rhode Island have state-level model policies.151

Three of the states’ laws include mandates for local prosecutors. California funds special domestic violence units and places limits on plea bargaining in serious cases.152  Minnesota requires local prosecutors to have a written plan for handling domestic violence cases; the plan must include vertical prosecution.153  Wisconsin requires prosecutors to have written policies to guide assistant prosecutors; the policies must favor prosecution.154

All four states’ laws require that entry-level police training include domestic violence.155  Rhode Island also requires police in-service training in domestic violence.156

The four states that seem to have the best criminal law provisions for combating domestic violence are not perfect. Each state has significant weaknesses. California, for example, lacks a police incident reporting requirement and does not mandate arrest for domestic violence. On the other hand, its criminal code provisions establishing domestic violence as a separate crime and setting penalties for stalking are among the strongest in the nation. Minnesota also fails to mandate arrests in domestic violence cases, but requires police incident reports; bars the use of citations instead of arrest; and requires vertical prosecution. Rhode Island has what are some of the strongest pro-arrest policies, including requiring officers to seek a warrant where no arrest was possible.157  It is also among the few states to require in-service police training in domestic violence. But its laws set no standards for the prosecutors’ training or duties. Wisconsin law provides for enhanced penalties for any domestic violence within 72 hours of release after arrest,158 but state law seemingly makes no mention of any bar to the use of citations. In sum, even the best states’ laws have flaws. But as a group, these four states illustrate the best that state legislation currently provides.

Assessing State Legislation II: The Pennsylvania Example

The Legislative Guidelines, supra, can also be used by local policymakers as a standard for assessing the needs of their state for new legislation. A review of the state domestic violence laws in Pennsylvania illustrates this use.

The Legislative Guidelines are composed of two major types of laws: substantive criminal law and criminal procedure. The analysis of Pennsylvania law follows this structure.

Substantive Criminal Law Omissions in Pennsylvania Law

The review of state domestic violence laws identified six substantive criminal law issues of concern for Pennsylvania.

1. Pennsylvania law does not include a separate domestic violence criminal statute (found in 25 states’ laws). The most significant omission is that of enhanced penalties for domestic violence occurring within 72 hours of release on an initial domestic violence charge.

2. There is no spousal sexual assault law in Pennsylvania (found in 6 states). Pennsylvania did repeal in 1995, however, state laws providing for a spousal exception to rape where the parties were still living together.159

3. There are only limited penalties for violation of a protective court order. Pennsylvania law provides for only criminal contempt 160 versus 4 states making order violation a felony and 6 states with felony enhancement for repeat protective order violations.

4. There are only limited penalties for stalking in Pennsylvania 161 (21 states make stalking a felony, in 17 other states it is a felony for repeat stalking). There are virtually no provisions for lesser harassment type offenses (e.g., although telephone threats are a crime in 22 states, Pennsylvania law only criminalizes harassment calls as a third degree misdemeanor).162

5. There are no Pennsylvania statutory provisions to enforce victim’s right to file complaint with police (e.g., crime of interfering with 911 call), or to seek shelter, or to protect their safety at a shelter. State law does provide for felony punishment of efforts to intimidate or retaliate against witnesses,163 which can be used in domestic violence cases.

6. There is no bar in Pennsylvania to firearm possession for conviction of simple domestic violence. State law provides for such a bar where a person is convicted of stalking or aggravated assault and where the person is subject to a protective order providing for confiscation of firearms.164

Criminal Procedure Code Concerns

Criminal procedure code provisions are also lacking when compared with other states, albeit not as badly. The review of Pennsylvania state law showed the following five areas of concern.

1. There is no Pennsylvania statutory requirement for mandatory arrest for domestic violence (found in 19 states) or even a preferred arrest policy (7 states), or for direction in dual arrest situations such as how to identify primary aggressor where cross complaints exist. Related laws missing in Pennsylvania include a requirement to seek a warrant where an arrest could not be made at the scene and forwarding of an incident report to the district attorney where no arrest is made. Pennsylvania law mandates arrest when there has been a violation of a court protective order.165  State law authorizes arrest at the officer’s discretion in domestic violence cases only where physical injury is seen.166  The same law also bars the use of citation in lieu of arrest (found in 10 states).167 State law also requires incident reports to be filed by local departments to the state, but conditions this on implementation of the new FBI incident-based reporting system (NIBRS).168  When the incident reports are filed, the State Police are to publish departmental-level statistical summaries of police incident reports.169

2. Pennsylvania law fails to specify the officer’s non-arrest duties when responding to a domestic violence call to include assisting victim to obtain medical help, transport to shelter, remove belongings from property, etc. Police are required, however, to provide a notice of rights under the state Victims Rights Act,170 and of rights as a domestic violence victim to a protective order and shelter availability.171 Police may seize weapons used in domestic violence 172 or threatened to be used where a protective order has been violated;173 however, no provision is made for seizure of any other weapons seen at the incident scene.

3. There is no provision in Pennsylvania for domestic violence training of prosecutors (found in 8 states). Police statutory training requirements174 for domestic violence do not seemingly include in-service training (11 states) and may even be limited to protection order enforcement. The Pennsylvania Municipal Police Officers Education and Training Commission has authority, however, to issue regulations regarding in-service training that can provide an alternative source for requiring mandatory in-service training in domestic violence.175  State law does require local police agencies to establish written policies and procedures 176 (16 states), without, however, providing for any state oversight of these policies’ content. There are no requirements for prosecutors to develop pro-prosecution policies that would apply to cases where the victim is a non-cooperating witness.

4. Pennsylvania law authorizes issuance of a criminal protective order at bail or other form of pretrial release on a finding of threat or danger,177 without making such an order mandatory upon a probable cause finding of domestic violence.

5. In at least one area, Pennsylvania law is among the nation’s leaders. Thus, state law establishes a state registry for domestic violence orders and provides for registry of out-of-state orders for application of the Full Faith and Credit requirement.178  Even here, however, questions arise. By its own terms, enforcement of out-of-state orders through contempt proceedings requires registration of that order in the state or county registry. However, there can be a significant time gap between delivery of the order to the police and entry of that order into the registry. Further, the wisdom of such a requirement when the order applies to visitors to the state may also be questioned. This problem is aggravated by the absence of any registration procedure for out-of-state orders into the state registry and the laborious, two-step procedure for registration in the county register.

Pennsylvania Summary

In comparison with other states’ laws, Pennsylvania law lacks many statutory provisions intended to protect victims of domestic abuse. The most obvious candidate for legislative action is mandatory arrest policies for domestic violence. Direction should be provided for dual arrest situations to discourage officers arresting both parties except when there is no primary aggressor. In general, enforcement of court protective orders needs to be strengthened, including increased penalties and making mandatory the issuance of criminal protective orders at release hearings, with violation of this order a separate criminal offense. There is no necessary imperative for a new domestic violence crime, but consideration should be given to a law that provides enhanced mandatory penalties for repeat domestic violence offenses, especially stiff mandatory jail sentences for commission of domestic violence within 72 hours of release on bail. Finally, it should be noted that references in existing state law to the implementation of NIBRS in Pennsylvania are dated. According to the Department of Justice, Pennsylvania has stopped testing of NIBRS for a variety of factors, including inadequate funding.179  The failure of NIBRS should not, however, result in a similar failure of required reporting by police of how they handle domestic violence incidents and calls for service. Public accountability can only be served by such a requirement and it should be enforced.


State legislation making domestic violence a crime and providing new remedies for victims of domestic violence are largely a hodge podge of differing provisions. From a national perspective, however, one can discern what the outlines of a comprehensive statutory approach should be. A few states come close to this standard, but most do not. It may be hoped that this simple checklist approach can provide "needs" guidance to state legislators in revamping their domestic violence laws.


Additional information about the ILJ research will be provided to anyone requesting it. Contact Neal Miller or Tom McEwen at the Institute ( or


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