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Legal Information: Kentucky

Restraining Orders

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November 15, 2023

What is the legal definition of domestic violence in Kentucky?

This section defines domestic violence for the purposes of getting a protective order. Kentucky law defines “domestic violence and abuse” as the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between “family members” or “members of an unmarried couple:”

  1. causing physical injury or serious physical injury;
  2. committing sexual assault, which includes any degree of rape, sodomy, or sexual abuse, and incest;
  3. committing assault;
  4. committing stalking;
  5. committing strangulation, which is defined as the actions described in the crimes of strangulation in the first degree or strangulation in the second degree or a criminal attempt, conspiracy, facilitation, or solicitation to commit the crime of strangulation; 
  6. putting you in fear of immediate physical injury, serious physical injury, sexual abuse, strangulation, or assault;
  7. committing cruelty to animals in the 1st or 2nd degree;
  8. torturing a dog or cat
  9. committing sexual crimes against an animal; or
  10. making you fear that the acts listed in numbers 7, 8, and 9 will immediately be committed against a domestic animal with which you have a close bond in order to coerce, control, punish, intimidate you or to get revenge against you.1

Note: “Members of an unmarried couple” only include dating partners who live(d) together or who have a child together.2 See Who can get a protective order? for more information.

1 KRS § 403.720(2), (9)
2 KRS § 403.720(6)