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Know the Laws: U.S. Virgin Islands

UPDATED November 23, 2016

Enforcing your Out-Of-State Order in the U.S. Virgin Islands

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If you are planning to move to the U.S. Virgin Islands or are going to be in the U.S. Virgin Islands for any reason, your protection or restraining order can be enforced.

Registering your Out-of-State order in the U.S. Virgin Islands

back to topWhat is the National Crime Information Center Registry? Who has access to it?

The National Crime Information Center Registry (NCIC) is a nationwide, electronic database that contains information about protection orders and is used by law enforcement agencies in the U.S, Canada, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam. It is managed by the FBI and state law enforcement officials.*

All law enforcement officials have access to it, but the information is encrypted so outsiders cannot access it.

* The National Crime Information Center website.

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back to topHow do I register my restraining order in the U.S. Virgin Islands?

You can file (register) your protection order in the U.S. Virgin Islands by giving a certified copy of your order to the clerk of Superior Court or to the Attorney General’s office and ask that it be registered with the clerk of the Superior Court.*  Additionally, the law says that you need to also file an affidavit that says that to the best of your knowledge, the order is still in effect.**

If you need help registering your restraining order, you can contact a local domestic violence organization in the U.S. Virgin Islands for assistance.  You can find contact information for organizations in your area here on our VI State and Local Programs page.

* VI ST T. 5 § 585(a)
** VI ST T. 5 § 585(d)

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back to topDo I have to register my restraining order in the U.S. Virgin Islands in order to get it enforced?

No.  The U.S. Virgin Islands’ law gives full protection to an out-of-state restraining order as long as you can show the officer a copy of the order and can truthfully tell the officer that you believe the order is still in effect.  The police officer does need to believe that it is a valid (real) order.*

* VI ST T. 5 § 583(b)

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back to topWill the abuser be notified if I register my restraining order?

Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which applies to all U.S. states and territories, the court is not permitted to notify the abuser when a protective order has been registered or filed in a new state unless you specifically request that the abuser be notified.*  However, you may wish to confirm that the clerk is aware of this law before registering the order if your address is confidential.

However, remember that there may be a possibility that the abuser could somehow find out what state you have moved to.  It is important to continue to safety plan, even if you are no longer in the state where the abuser is living.  We have some safety planning tips to get you started on our Staying Safe page.  You can also contact a local domestic violence organization to get help in developing a personalized safety plan.  You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our VI State and Local Programs page.

* 18 USC § 2265(d)

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back to topWhat if I don't register my restraining order? Will it be more difficult to have it enforced?

Neither federal law nor state law requires that you register your restraining order in order to get have it enforced.  If your order is not entered into the state registry, the U.S. Virgin Islands’ law enforcement should still enforce your order if it:

  • identifies the protected individual and the respondent;
  • is currently in effect;
  • was issued by a court that had jurisdiction (power) to issue the order; and
  • was issued after the respondent was given adequate notice and opportunity to be heard in reasonable time.*
If you are unsure about whether registering your order is the right decision for you, you may want to contact a local domestic violence organization in your area.  An advocate there may be able to help you decide what the safest plan of action is for you in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  To see a list of local domestic violence organizations in the U.S. Virgin Islands, go to our VI State and Local Programs page.

* VI ST T. 5 § 583(d)

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back to topDoes it cost anything to register my restraining order?

No. There is no fee for filing your restraining order in the U.S. Virgin Islands.*

* VT ST T. 5 § 585(f)

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