Know the Laws: U.S. Virgin Islands
UPDATED May 27, 2015
A restraining order in the Virgin Islands is a civil order that provides protection from threats, assault, rape, kidnapping and other acts committed by an intimate partner or family/household member.
Here are some things you may want to consider doing. However, you will have to evaluate each one to see if it works for your situation.
If you are not granted a restraining order, there are still some things you can do to stay safe. It might be a good idea to contact one of the domestic violence resource centers in your area to get help, support, and advice on how to stay safe. They may be able to help you come up with a safety plan and help connect you with the resources you need. You will find a list of U.S. Virgin Islands resources on our VI State and Local Programs page.
You can also find safety planning tips on our Staying Safe page. You may also be able to reapply for a restraining order if a new incident of domestic violence occurs after you are denied the order.
You may also want to consider reporting any criminal activity to the police. For more information about crimes in the U.S. Virgin Islands, please go to our VI Crimes page.
Violating a temporary restraining order or permanent restraining order can be against the law.* There are two ways to get help if the abuser violates the restraining order.
1. Through the police or sheriff: If the defendant violates the restraining order, you can call 911 immediately. In some cases, the defendant can be arrested right away. Tell the officers you have a restraining order, and the defendant is violating it. If the defendant is arrested, then the district attorney’s office can prosecute the abuser because it can be a crime to violate a restraining order.
2. Through the civil court system: You may also file for civil contempt when the abuser violates the order. The abuser can be in civil contempt and punished by the judge in some way if s/he does anything that your restraining order prohibits him/her from doing. To file for civil contempt, go to the clerk's office and ask for the forms to file for contempt of court for violation of a restraining order.
* VI ST T. 16 § 97(e)
Before your permanent restraining order expires, you may apply to the court to have your order extended. You will have to go back to court for a hearing to tell the judge why you believe it is necessary to extend the order. If the judge believes there is good cause, s/he may extend the order. For any other changes, you can request that the judge modify (change) your order. You must show the judge that there is good cause to change the order.*
* VI ST T. 16 § 97(d)
If you move from the U.S. Virgin Islands to another U.S. territory or state (or vice versa), your permanent restraining order can be enforced even if you move to another territory or to the United States. If you move, your order must be given "full faith and credit" in any other state, territorial or tribal court,* which means that your order will be good wherever you go.
Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.
* 18 U.S.C §§ 2265, 2266