Learn about Abuse
UPDATED November 25, 2015
Here at WomensLaw.org, in addition to making sure that our existing information is up-to-date, we add new information to our website to give you another reason to keep coming back. If you have a suggestion for something you would like to see added to our site, or to let us know about a page that needs to be updated, email us at Stacey@WomensLaw.org.
What's new in November 2015?
- We updated the contact information for legal resources listed on our South Dakota Finding a Lawyer page and added 6 new legal services organizations to the page.
- Continuing towards our goal of translating the whole state of Washington, we translated the Washington Custody page into Spanish!
- We created a new section to our Maine Know the Laws section - check out our Maine Housing Laws page! We also added the relevant statutes to our Maine Statutes page.
What's new in October 2015?
What's new in September 2015?
- We updated the information on how Salon Professionals can help victims of domestic violence, under our Helping Others tab.
- We created a new Louisiana Sexual Assault Protective Order page.
- We translated into Spanish our Illinois Stalking No Contact Orders page and our Illinois Civil No Contact Orders (for Victims of Sexual Assault).
- We updated our Maine Know the Laws pages based on recent changes to Maine laws. For example, we added new reasons why a person can be prohibited from having a firearm in our State Gun Laws pages; we added information about suing an abuser for damages to rental property in our Suing Your Abuser page; we added information about financial exploitation to our Protection from Abuse Orders (for the elderly/dependent/incapacitated); and we added 5 new crimes to our Crimes page and ME Statutes page.
- We updated our Louisiana Protective Orders (for Domestic Abuse) pages based on changes in Louisiana laws, adding new information to What types of protective orders are there? How long do they last? and to What can I do if the abuser violates the order? We also created a new question in our Protective Orders (for Stalking) page called What can I do if the abuser violates the order?
- We added information to our Oregon Sexual Abuse Protective Orders page.
- We added a new question to our Kentucky Custody page called If my child was conceived from sexual assault, can the offender get custody or visitation?
- We updated our Kansas Custody section based on recent legislative changes, including augmenting the question How will a judge make a decision about custody, residency, and parenting time?
- We translated into Spanish the restraining order information for the state of Washington including: WA Domestic Violence Orders for Protection (DVOP), WA Sexual Assault Protection Orders, WA Stalking Protection Orders and WA Civil Anti-Harassment Orders.
- We added a new section to our Iowa Restraining Orders page called Protective Orders (Based on Elder Abuse).
- Based on changes to D.C. law, we updated our D.C. State Gun Laws page.
- Based on changes to Arkansas law, we updated and improved our Arkansas State Gun Laws page, in English and Spanish.
- We substantially revised our Georgia State Gun Laws page, updating and rewriting the information we had in that section.
- We revised our Washington, D.C. Restraining Orders and Custody pages, updating the information we had in those sections.
- We substantially revised our Washington Custody page, improving the information we had and adding a new section called The effect of military deployment on custody/visitation. Our next step is to translate it into Spanish!
- We translated into Spanish all of the legal and non-legal resources and courthouse information on our Oklahoma Where to Find Help page, which includes more than 150 records.
What's new in August 2015?
- We updated all of the legal and non-legal resources and courthouse information on our Oklahoma Where to Find Help page.
- We have begun to translate all of the information for an additional state, Washington! So far, we translated all of the sections in our Restraining Orders page, which includes Domestic Violence Orders for Protection page, the Sexual Assault Protection Orders page, the Civil Anti-Harassment Orders page, and the Stalking Protection Orders page.
- We added information to the Civil No Contact Orders page on our Illinois Restraining Orders section and added several additional statutes related to civil no contact orders to our IL Statutes page.
- We added information to the question How can a restraining order help me? on our Connecticut Restraining Orders page based on a 2015 change to the law, which allows the judge to order additional protections in temporary and permanent restraining orders.
- We updated all of the legal and non-legal resources in Spanish and English on our Arkansas Where to Find Help page. In addition, we added 5 new organizations that provide services to domestic violence victims and survivors on our AR State and Local Programs page and 2 new legal resources on our AR Finding a Lawyer page.
- We updated our California Housing Laws section in English and Spanish to reflect a recent change in the law that requires a victim who is terminating his/her lease to pay rent only for the next 14 days instead of 30 days.
- We updated a few questions on our Arizona State Gun Laws page based on legislative changes to include two more legal reasons why a person might be prohibited from having a gun in his/her possession. We also changed information on our Arizona Custody page to reflect changes in the law regarding relocation of a child. All changes were made in English and Spanish.
- We added additional cyberstalking resources to our Stalking/Cyberstalking page in English and Spanish.
- We updated our Arkansas Domestic Violence Orders of Protection section in Spanish and English based on amendments to Arkansas law; changes include adding in-laws as a possible family or household member against whom an order of protection can be sought. We added the new crime in Arkansas called Unlawful distribution of sexual images or recordings to our Crimes page and our AR Statutes pages.
- After being contacted by NIWAP to add them as a resource to WomensLaw.org, we added the National Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project (NIWAP), both in English and Spanish, to our Helping Others page, under the Lawyers section.
What's new in July 2015?
- We updated all of the resources in Washington on our Finding a Lawyer page.
- We created a new section in Washington called Stalking Protection Orders.
- We updated all the legal and non-legal resources in Spanish and English on our Washington, DC Where to Find Help page. In addition, we now have 5 new organizations on our DC State and Local Programs and 5 new legal resources on our DC Finding a Lawyer page.
- We updated the contact information and added descriptions for the 39 organizations that provide services to domestic violence victims and survivors on our Arkansas State and Local Programs page.
- We added a new Danger Assessment page in our Learn About Abuse section, where users can learn more about some of the factors that indicate a victim is at greater risk of being seriously injured or killed by an abuser.
- We revised the information on our Same-Sex Abuse page in English and Spanish and re-wrote two of the questions called: What does LGBTQ mean? and How common is domestic violence in the LGBTQ community?
- We re-wrote and greatly improved the content of the Washington Domestic Violence Orders for Protection page, the Sexual Assault Protection Orders page, and the Civil Anti-Harassment Orders page and created the Stalking Protection Orders page.
- We expanded our New Hampshire Stalking Protective Orders page, going from one question to seven. Check it out!
- We added a new question to our Ohio Domestic Violence Protection Orders page called Can I file for a protection order against a minor?
- Based on changes to Minnesota laws, we added new information to our Minnesota Orders for Protection page, Harassment Restraining Orders page, and State Gun Laws page, including a new question entitled What will happen to the abuser's firearms if the judge includes a firearm restriction in my order for protection?
- We revised our Marital / Partner Rape page in English and Spanish, improving the content and updating the statistics regarding the occurrence of sexual coercion/rape within intimate relationships.
- We added the crime of "Malicious or unlawful assault; assault; battery" to the West Virginia Crimes page.
- Based on statutory changes to Alabama law that took effect in June 2015, we updated almost all of the Know the Laws sections in Alabama, adding new questions and revising others. We also added two new statutes to the Alabama Statutes page.
- Inspired by an Email Hotline inquiry, we just added a new section to our Oregon pages about the Housing Laws that protect victims of stalking, sexual assault and domestic violence.
What's new in June 2015?
- We improved the Alabama Finding a Lawyer page, updating all of the current listings, adding descriptions of services, and adding 4 new legal organizations to the list.
- We updated all of the Illinois State and Local Programs (more than 60 of them), adding descriptions of services provided and additional programs - we also translated them all into Spanish.
- We translated the Housing Laws sections in Arkansas and Arizona into Spanish.
- With the help of the Puerto Rico Coalition, Coordinadora Paz para la Mujer, we were able to update all of the 100 legal and non-legal resources that we list on our Where to Find Help pages for victims and survivors of Puerto Rico. In addition, we now have 17 new State and Local Programs and 19 new resources on our Finding a Lawyer page.
- We added the crime of custodial interference to our Oregon Crimes page.
- In response to an inquiry on the Email Hotline, we added a new question in Spanish and English to our VAWA Laws for Abuse Victims page called Can I file for a VAWA self-petition if I am in another country?
- At the suggestion of people who wrote to us, we added a new resource to our National Organizations page, in Spanish and English, for Take Back the Night Foundation and the Support, Advocacy & Resource Center to our Washington Local Programs page. We also updated and translated into Spanish all of the resources on Finding a Lawyer page in California (78 of them!) in English and Spanish.
What's new in May 2015?
What's new in April 2015?
- Check out our overhauled Choosing and Working with a Lawyer page! We re-wrote most of the sections, adding new information, and improving the overall content and translated the new page into Spanish.
- We improved our Sexual Harassment in the Workplace page in English and Spanish.
- We updated the sheriff department listings (in English and Spanish) on our Where to Find Help page in the following states: MA, NJ, NM, WA, FL, NY, OK, PA, TX, NC, IL, GA, CO, AR. More states to come!
What's new in March 2015?
What's new in February 2015?
- We edited the Oklahoma State Gun Laws section, refining the information we had and adding new information to two questions, in both English and Spanish.
- We added the crime of "Revenge porn prohibited" to our Maryland Crimes page and Maryland Statutes page, based on the addition of this law by the Maryland Legislature at the end of 2014.
- We updated all of the legal resources on our New Mexico Finding a Lawyer page and added 12 new resources. All updates and additions were made in English and Spanish.
- We added a new section to our National Organizations page called Posting Sexual Images without Consent/"Revenge Porn" and listed in it the non-profit resource called the Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project.
- In our Louisiana Suing Your Abuser section, we added links to 13 different city or county small claims courts since filing fees vary in each city. We also added two new crimes to our Louisiana Crimes page.
- We added a new section to our Tennessee Custody section called The effect of military deployment on custody/visitation.
- We added 6 new crimes to our Utah Crimes page.
- We revised our California Parental Kidnapping page and added the crime of Deprivation of custody or right to visitation to our Crimes page (in English and Spanish) and to our CA Statutes page.
- We added brief information to our California Suing Your Abuser page in Spanish and English about the tort of stalking and linked to the language of the law on our CA Statutes page.
- Continuing with our translation of all of our Georgia content, we translated the Georgia Crimes page into Spanish.
- We added the Spanish translation of our New Jersey Housing Laws page, Colorado Housing Laws page, and Texas Housing Laws page.
What's new in January 2015?
- Based on a new law that became effective in Pennsylvania in September 2014, we added information to our Suing Your Abuser page about a victim's right to sue someone who disseminates intimate images of him/her (in Spanish and English).
- We added the Spanish translation of our Crimes pages in North Carolina, New Mexico, and Puerto Rico.
- We added a new section to our Pennsylvania Custody section called The effect of military deployment on custody/visitation, in Spanish and English.
- As we make our way through translating our Georgia Know the Laws pages into Spanish, we just completed the translation (and reorganization) of our Georgia Custody page.
- We revised and expanded our Injunction Against Workplace Violence section in Arkansas, in Spanish and English.
What's new in December 2014?
- We completed another step on our way to translating all of the legal information for Georgia. We just completed the Spanish translation of the Stalking Protection Orders page (here) and the Bond for Good Behavior page (here). More to come soon!
- WomensLaw added two new sections to our Illinois Restraining Orders page: Stalking No Contact Orders and Civil No Contact Orders (for Victims of Sexual Assault). We plan to expand these sections, especially the latter one, to make them more comprehensive in the coming months.
What's new in November 2014?
- We revised our Georgia Stalking Protective Orders page and added new information to our Georgia Bond for Good Behavior page. We also added 4 additional crimes to our Georgia Crimes page.
- We are thrilled to begin translating into Spanish the information in the Know the Laws section for a new state, Georgia. We just completed the Spanish translation of the Family Violence Protection Orders page - you can check it out here. More to come soon!
- We revised the Puerto Rico Orders of Protection for the Elderly page in Spanish and added the English translation of the page.
- We translated into Spanish the recently-added section to our New Mexico page, which, in English, is called Civil Restraining Orders (for harassment or other harm).
- We improved our Ohio Domestic Violence Protection Orders page, re-writing various questions, and adding new statutes to our OH Statutes page to correspond with the new information added on the protection orders page.
What's new in October 2014?
What's new in September 2014?
What's new in August 2014?
What's new in July 2014?
- We updated and enhanced the links to outside sources for every state in which we do not have a full divorce section (more than 40 states)! This is an improvement we have been hoping to make for a while and are excited it is completed.
- We added a new Divorce section for the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- Colorado law added certain custody provisions for women who conceived a child due to a sexual assault. We updated our Colorado Custody page to reflect the changes in the laws regarding allocation of parental responsibilities. We also added a new question called If my child was conceived due to a sexual assault, can the offender/parent's rights to the child be terminated?
What's new in June 2014?
- New Yorkers who have an order of protection will want to read the new question we added to our NY Orders of Protection page regarding the fact that a victim cannot violate his/her own order of protection. We also overhauled the entire page to make it more concise and easier to read.
- We added new links to outside sources on our Louisiana Custody page.
- We clarified some information in our Maine Protection from Abuse Orders section to add information regarding the right of a victim of sexual assault or stalking to apply for a protection from abuse order, regardless of who the perpetrator is. We also took a fresh look at the whole section, making substantial edits. Check it out!
- We added a lot of new information to the question on our Maine State Gun Laws page.
- We added new links to outside sources on our Wyoming Divorce page.
What's new in May 2014?
- Check out our new and improved Harassment Restraining Orders section in Minnesota.
- We added a new section to our Massachusetts Know the Laws section called Housing Laws. The section briefly covers the law that was passed in 2013, which allows victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking in MA to terminate their lease/rental agreement and/or to get their locks changed. We hope to expand the section this Fall.
- Based on a law passed in April 2014, we added information to our Iowa Protective Orders page regarding protection for pets in protective orders. See How can a protective order help me? to read more about it.
- We re-wrote and augmented the question on our Delaware Custody page called If a custody/visitation order is in place, how can I get it changed?
- We revised all of the information on our Kentucky State Gun Laws page and we updated and enhanced the links to outside sources on our Kentucky Divorce page.
What's new in April 2014?
- We updated the information and improved the links to outside sources for our West Virginia Custody page, our South Dakota Custody page, and our Idaho Custody page.
- We revised the information and links to outside sources on our Nebraska Divorce page, Kansas Divorce page and Massachusetts Divorce page.
- We revised some of the information on our Kansas Protection from Abuse Orders page to make it easier to read.
What's new in March 2014?
- We updated the links to information from outside sources on our divorce page for Utah.
- WomensLaw added brief info about Oregon's new Sexual Assault Protective Orders, which became effective on 1/1/14. We also added the newly-created statutes to our OR Statutes page. Please check back in the Summer of 2014 when we hope to have a whole new section on the website devoted to SAPOs.
What's new in February 2014?
- We re-wrote the question "Where can I find more information about custody in Indiana?" on our IN Custody page and we updated/improved the links to outside sources on our IN Divorce page.
- We updated the links to information from outside sources on our divorce pages for WI, NV, and WV as well as updating all of the contact information for legal services offices on our WV Finding a Lawyer page.
- Based on a change to Connecticut law that clearly lays out the circumstances under which someone can ask for an emergency ex parte custody order, we added a question to our CT Custody page called Can I get an emergency ex parte custody order?
- Prompted by an email from a WomensLaw.org visitor, we updated some outdated links in English and Spanish on our Helping Others - Doctors and Health Care Workers page. Please keep the suggestions coming!
What's new in January 2014?
- In Illinois, additional restrictions have been added to the law that could prohibit someone from getting a firearm owner's identification card. This information can be crucial for a victim whose abuser has or plans to get a firearm. See I do not have an order of protection against the abuser, and s/he has not been convicted of a crime. Can s/he have a gun?
- We added a new question to our Washington, D.C. custody page based on a June 2013 law prohibiting a convicted rapist from getting custody or visitation of a child conceived from the rape. See If my child was conceived from a sexual assault, can the biological father get custody or visitation? We also added the definitions of the sexual abuse crimes that come under the law to our DC Statutes page and our DC Crimes page.
- As of January 1, 2014, California law added victims of human trafficking to the group of protected people who can terminate their lease without penalty, recognized a new form of acceptable documentation of the abuser, and added a new obligation of the landlord to keep the victim's status confidential. We updated our CA Housing Laws section in English and Spanish to reflect these changes and we added a new question called If I reveal that I am a victim to my landlord, can s/he tell other people?
- We added information to our Arkansas Domestic Violence Orders of Protection page and our AR Suing Your Abuser page about a law that was passed in August 2013, which allows a victim of stalking to sue the stalker for money damages, reasonable attorney's fees, and court costs regardless of whether or not s/he was arrested for stalking.
- Thanks to those organizations who contacted us this month with corrections/additions. We now added a new resource to our Washington, DC Legal Resources page called the Amara Legal Center, which helps those whose rights have been violated through the commercial sex industry. We also corrected contact information for various other local programs in AL, TN, and AZ. Please keep letting us know about any updated information!
What's new in December 2013?
- We are often asked on the Email Hotline about laws that relate to a person posting sexual images online of another person without his/her consent. On 12/5/13, there was an Appellate Division decision in NY state that confirmed a defendant's conviction for secretly videotaping sexual acts with another person and threatening to post them online - you can read the decision here. At WomensLaw.org, we added new criminal laws to our NY Statutes page regarding unlawful surveillance and dissemination of the images. You can read those criminal laws on our NY Statutes page here (unlawful surveillance) and here (dissemination).
What's new in November 2013?
- Thanks to an email from a non-profit called Sex Workers Anonymous, we learned that many of the organizations listed on our National Organizations/Trafficking/Prostitution/Sexual Exploitation page had changed their contact info or had closed. Therefore, we updated every resource on that page. Check out what resources are available nationally for victims of the sex trade.
- New laws were passed in Arkansas in 2013, which are featured on WomensLaw.org. Check out the new question entitled If my child was conceived from rape, can the rapist get custody or visitation? Also, the law now makes clear that a victim of stalking can sue the stalker in civil court for damages regardless of whether or not there is a criminal conviction against the stalker. You can read the law on our AR Statutes page. Arkansas law also expanded the definition of stalking - read the law here.
What's new in October 2013?
- We re-translated the Colorado custody section into Spanish after making substantial additions and changes to this section a little while ago in English.
- We translated some recent improvements on our General Parental Kidnapping page into Spanish.
What's new in September 2013?
- We added new information about housing protections in Connecticut for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. See our CT Housing Laws section for more information.
What's new in July 2013?
- We are thrilled to announce that we have created new Crimes pages for all states and territories. You can now go to your state's Crimes page to read the definitions of a selection of crimes in your state that the abuser may have committed and you can find links to victim compensation programs in each state.
- Read about how the US Supreme Court's strike-down of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) could help same-sex victims qualify for VAWA relief! See our new question, Does a same-sex marriage count as being "married" to the abuser for immigration purposes?
- We updated and improved our Oregon State Gun Laws page, adding more information about when a concealed handgun permit can be revoked after receiving an inquiry about this on our Email Hotline. Keep the inquiries coming!
- We revised the first part of our Military section, updating links and information in English and Spanish - see here: General Military Information. The update was inspired by someone who wrote to our Email Hotline asking about the rights of a homosexual Service member, which made us realize that we hadn't yet updated our information about the rights of same-sex victims in the military after the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Check back next month to see the updates to the second Military section, Military Protective Orders.
What's new in June 2013?
- We finally finished translating into Spanish the FL Injunctions for Protection Against Stalking/Cyberstalking page that we created in April 2013!
- We are expanding the Crimes pages in every state to allow you to click on the legal definition of various crimes in each state. So far, we have amended Alabama through Indiana, and we added a brand new Spanish Crimes page in Arkansas. Check back soon for more updates!
- Attention Maine residents, we re-wrote the question How can a protection from abuse order help me? and added information about what a judge can order in a temporary, ex parte order.
- Check out our revised Safety with Social Media page in English and Spanish. We added more safety tips for using MySpace and Twitter and revised the safety information we have about using Facebook.
What's new in May 2013?
What's new in April 2013?
- We revamped our Domestic Violence page (in English and Spanish), which is located in our Learn About Abuse tab.
- We updated our U Visa and VAWA sections in English and Spanish.
- We added more information to our Preparing Your Case page, including a new question about how a pro se litigant can best present his/her case for custody when it is being decided as part of a protection order hearing. (All changes are also in Spanish.)
- A Florida law that was passed in October 2012 allowed for the creation of civil injunctions based on stalking. WomensLaw has now created an entirely new section with detailed information about Injunctions for Protection Against Stalking/Cyberstalking.
- We edited, updated and "spruced up" our Safety Tips for Stalking Victims page in English and Spanish. If you are being stalked, you can find tips for ways to stay safe at home, at school, at work, etc.
- We finally completed translating the Illinois Restraining Orders page that we re-wrote in English back in August 2012 into Spanish! Check it out here: Órdenes de Protección.
What's new in March 2013?
- Check out our newly edited Financial Abuse page, where we added new pieces of information throughout - both in
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