Legal Information: U.S. Virgin Islands

Statutes: Virgin Islands, U.S.

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December 28, 2021

91a. Duties of police officers

(a) The U.S. Virgin Islands Police Department, or other law enforcement agencies, upon request to the Department or other enforcement agency, shall respond to every request for assistance or protection, from or on behalf of a victim of alleged domestic violence, whether or not an order has been issued against the alleged abuser.

(b) A lower priority shall not be assigned to calls involving alleged incidents of abuse or violations of orders relative to domestic violence than is assigned in responding to like offenses involving strangers. Existence of any of the following factors shall be interpreted by police dispatchers as indicating a need for immediate response:

(1) The caller indicates that violence is imminent or is in progress;
(2) An order relative to domestic violence is in effect; or
(3) The caller indicates that incidents of domestic violence have occurred previously between the parties.

(c) If the police or other law enforcement officer has reason to believe that a person is a victim of domestic violence, the officer shall use all reasonable means to prevent further domestic violence and to ensure the victim’s safety including:

(1) exercising arrest powers pursuant to section 94 of this chapter;
(2) attempting to persuade the offender to leave the household if there is not probable cause to make an arrest and the victim perceives continuing danger;
(3) filling out and filing a domestic violence report as provided by section 93 of this chapter;
(4) interviewing the parties and children in separate rooms to ensure that the victim, as well as the children, have an opportunity to speak freely;
(5) providing or arranging for transportation for the victim to a safe place or shelter, if such transportation is desired;
(6) interviewing the children regarding the facts of the assault;
(7) providing or arranging transportation for the victim to the nearest hospital or medical facility for treatment of injuries, if such treatment is needed or desired;
(8) reading to the victim, the oral statement of rights as provided under section 92 of this chapter and written information about the nearest shelter or other agency providing service to victims of domestic violence;
(9) advising the victim of the importance of preserving evidence and of the types of evidence that should be preserved;
(10) taking photographs of any visible injuries or property damage whenever necessary or appropriate;
(11) remaining on the scene of an incident of domestic violence as long as the victim remains in danger;
(12) accompanying the victim to a previous residence to remove personal belongings; and
(13) supervising the court ordered removal of an abuser from a residence shared with a victim.

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