McDonnell signs legislation aimed to protecting victims of sexual, domestic violence
Gov. Bob McDonnell was joined today at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale by members of the Governor’s Domestic Violence Prevention and Response Advisory Board, victims of crime, public safety officials, family members of victims and elected officials to sign into law 13 pieces of legislation to support and protect victims of crime, specifically human trafficking and domestic violence victims.
The legislation includes measures to enhance campus safety, combat human trafficking and strengthen enforcement of protective orders for victims of domestic violence. The new laws further protect Virginia’s citizens by ensuring that all victims of crime in Virginia have the services necessary to recover.
“The legislation signed today is a bipartisan accomplishment that will make a difference in assisting victims, holding offenders accountable, and preventing future criminal activity,” McDonnell said.
McDonnell’s Executive Order 25 in October of 2010 established the Domestic Violence Prevention and Response Advisory Board to advise the governor on effective measures to promote appropriate criminal justice responses to domestic violence, provide comprehensive services to victims and implement effective prevention initiatives.
On April 25, 2011, the governor issued Executive Order 44 to extend the Domestic Violence Advisory Board to continue its efforts to improve Virginia’s laws, programs and procedures to enhance the Commonwealth’s response to domestic and sexual violence at all levels. Last summer, the Governor tasked the members of the Domestic Violence Advisory Board with identifying any challenges to the successful implementation of Virginia’s improved protective order laws.
Through their efforts, the administration identified several minor but necessary, amendments to the statutes governing protective orders issued by a Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court.
Bills signed today
HB752 (Cline)/SB459 (Herring) Makes Strangulation Offense a Class 6 Felony
· This form of abuse, where a person impedes the blood circulation or respiration of another person by knowingly, intentionally and unlawfully applying pressure to the neck of the victims resulting in bodily injury, is now punishable as a Class 6 felony.
HB1033 (McClellan)/SB445 (Vogel) Requires Immediate Data Entry of Protective Orders into the Virginia Criminal Information Network
· Requires Circuit Court Clerks to meet the “end of the business day” standard to electronically enter protective order information into the Virginia State Police’s Criminal Information Network (VCIN) and protect victims of domestic violence without delay.
HB965 (R.Bell)/SB302 (Howell) Requires Mutual Aid Agreements Investigating Deaths and Alleged Rapes on College Campuses
· Requires campus police to enter into mutual aid agreements with an adjacent local law-enforcement agency or the State Police for cooperation in providing assistance with the investigation of deaths and alleged rapes occurring on college campuses.
HB969 (R. Bell) and SB301 (Howell) Improve Campus Sexual Assault Response Teams
· Requires each attorney for the Commonwealth to invite any chiefs of campus police of institutions of higher education located within the jurisdiction to the annual Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) meeting.
SB300 (Howell) Strengthens the Provisions of Virginia’s Protective Orders Laws
· Makes various changes to the provisions governing protective orders issued by a Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court
– Clarifies that only violations related to trespass, criminal offenses, acts of abuse, or prohibited contacts are Class 1 misdemeanors
– Clarifies that juvenile and domestic relations district courts have jurisdiction over all protective orders that involve juveniles, whether as the alleged victim or as respondent
– Allows judges to prohibit contact between the respondent and the allegedly abused person or that person’s family
HB546 (Comstock) Combats Human Trafficking by Making Prostitution a Predicate Criminal Act
· Includes within the definition of “predicate criminal act” the offenses of the taking or detaining of any person into a place for the purpose of prostitution and the receiving of money from earnings of any person engaged in prostitution.
HB1188(Watts)/SB259 (Ebbin) Combats Human Trafficking by Requiring Schools to Provide Awareness Training
· Requires the Board of Education, with assistance from the Department of Social Services, to provide awareness and training materials for local school division staff on human trafficking, including strategies for the prevention of trafficking of children.
HB1200 (Bulova) Increases Awareness of Human Trafficking
· Provides that any employer who operates a business that provides entertainment commonly called stripteasing or topless entertaining or entertainment that has employees who are not clad above or below the waist and who fails to post a specific notice in a clearly visible place on the premises thereof is subject to a $500 civil penalty. The notice provides the telephone number of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline.