New Virginia laws impact domestic abuse survivors

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — New laws go into effect in Virginia this Friday, including two with major impacts on survivors of domestic violence.

“This year was a huge step forward for domestic violence advocates.”

Cathy Easter with Safe Harbor said she is looking forward to the new laws that will go into place on July 1 in Virginia. Two of those directly affect survivors of domestic violence.

14073E20C65043FCACD88F447164F74F“71% of family and intimate partner violence murders that occurred in 2014 involved a firearm,” Easter explained.

A new law requires anyone with a family abuse protective order to surrender their guns within 24 hours of receiving the order from a judge.

“So, taking firearms out of that equation is really important to protect the safety of survivors of domestic violence.”

Another law also increases the penalty for violating protective orders. Now stalking is considered a class six felony.

“It’s threatening and it’s intimidation,” said Easter. “I think that this law is certainly another big step forward in the fact that it doesn’t have to be assault to violate the protective order.”

Easter truly believes these laws will help save lives.

“It’s been a banner year and we are really pleased with all of the support.”

Also, any person who smokes in a vehicle – moving or not – with a child under eight, could get a ticket and be fined 100-dollars.

To learn more about Safe Harbor, visit their website or call their 24-hour hotline (804) 612-6126.

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