Learn about Abuse
UPDATED September 29, 2014
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 September 2014?
What's new in August 2014?
What's new in July 2014?
What's new in June 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 May 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 April 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 March 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 February 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 January 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 December 2013?
- 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 November 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 October 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 September 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 July 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 June 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 May 2013?
What's new in April 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 March 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 February 2013?
What's new in January 2013?
- Check out our newly edited Financial Abuse page, where we added new pieces of information throughout - both in English and Spanish.
- We added a question to our NY Divorce page in English and Spanish about getting spousal support before, during, and after a divorce.
NEWS UPDATE for New York residents:
- We translated our newly-revised NY Custody page into Spanish. Check it out here: Custodia.
In October 2012, NY state created the Order of Protection Notification System, which allows you to be notified by e-mail, text, iPhone/iPad app, telephone, fax or web query, when law enforcement serves
your family court order of protection upon the abuser. For more information or to register, visit NY-Alert
or the Sheriff's Institute
. In November 2012, NY created an Address Confidentiality Program
("ACP"), which helps a victim who registers with the program to keep his/her address confidential
when filing court petitions. All mail is sent to the ACP and the ACP will send it to your actual (confidential) address. To register, click here
What's new in November 2012?
What's new in October 2012?
- Changes to KS law in 2012 allow for a protection from abuse order or a protection from stalking order to be extended for anywhere from 2 years to the lifetime of the abuser if certain conditions are met. Read about it on our updated KS question entitled How do I change or extend my order?
- We revised the information we have on custody in CO, which is known as allocation of parental responsibilities. You can read it here.
- Based on 2012 changes to MS law, we changed the information on our MS page under What can I do if the abuser violates the order?
- Check out our recently revised Financial Abuse page in English and now in Spanish.
What's new in September 2012?
- We improved our NJ question about the definition of domestic violence for the purpose of getting a restraining order. You can read it here.
- Check out the new legal resources we added for survivors who need to appeal an order involving custody, protection orders, etc. on the Appeals section of our National Organizations page.
- We added new information about the protections that are provided in Virginia in an emergency protective order and a preliminary protective order.
- In Virginia, we also added information about what happens if an abuser violates a protective order for an act of violence, force or threat and a protective order for family abuse.
- Based on 2012 changes to states' laws, we added a question about what happens to a parent's custody or visitation rights when s/he is deployed by the military in Indiana.
- We added information about grandparent visitation rights in Connecticut and in Georgia.
- Check out our newly revised Custody section in NY!
- Based on changes to MD's laws, effective 10/1/12, we updated specific questions in our Peace Orders section and in our Domestic Violence Protective Orders section.
What's new in August 2012?
- In Nevada, we added the Spanish translation of our recently revised Orders for Protection Against Domestic Violence page. Check it out here.
- We expanded our Orders of Protection due to Stalking section in Missouri in response to a hotline inquiry we received on our Email Hotline. If you want more information than we have on our website, please write to us and ask - we are listening!
What's new in July 2012?
What's new in May 2012?
What's new in April 2012?
What's new in March 2012?
What's new in the Winter of 2011/2012?
- We revised all of the information on our Hawaii Restraining Orders pages, including our Orders for Protection due to Domestic Abuse (Family Court) section and our Injunctions Against Harassment (District Court) section.
- We revised all of the information on our Illinois Orders of Protection pages in English.
What's new in the Fall of 2011?
What's new in the Summer of 2011?
- We added a whole new section about Child Support in North Carolina (currently only in English - soon to be in Spanish!)
- Check out our revised VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) immigration section! We have detailed information on self-petitions, battered spouse waivers and cancelation of removal in English and Spanish. We also completely revised our information on U Visas, currently in English.
- Sexual Harassment in the Workplace is now available in Spanish.
- We finished translating all of our NY resources into Spanish (Finding a Lawyer pages and State and Local Programs). If you see one that we missed, please email us to let us know.
- After receiving an Email Hotline request for this information, we added a question about whether common-law marriages and same-sex marriages can qualify someone for a VAWA self-petition. Check it out here.
- Texas law changed as of September 2011 to allow victims of stalking, human trafficking and forced prostitution to get a protective order that used to only be available to victims of sexual assault and other sexual crimes. See Sexual Assault or Stalking Protective Orders to read more about it.
- We finished translating our U visa information into Spanish! You can find it here.
- Maine law in 2011 added a new type of protection from abuse order for adults who are over 60, dependent, or incapacitated and who are being abused by an extended family member or an unpaid caregiver. To read more, go to Protection from Abuse Orders (for the elderly/dependent/incapacitated).
- We added information about abuse in the transgender community to our Same-Sex Abuse page.
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