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To reach yoru local Domestic Violence Program, you can call the Family Refuge Center at 304-772-5005.
If a Domestic Violence Protection Order is needed, please contact the Monroe County Magistrate Office at 304-772-3176.
Legislative Highlights of Recent Years
The Domestic Violence Act created the Family Protection Services Board to develop standards for annual licensure and funding of domestic violence programs. This Act provided an additional fee for filing a divorce action and generated an increase in funding for licensed domestic violence programs.
Revisions to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1979 broadened the definition of domestic violence; allowed advocates to be present at domestic violence hearings; lengthened the period of protective orders from 30 to up to 60 days; required magistrates to inform persons seeking a domestic violence protection order of the nearest residential or protective service available for abused persons; mandated the development of policies and procedures for law enforcement response to domestic violence calls.
Revisions to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act permitted service of protection orders on Sundays and legal holidays; required responding police officers to transport or facilitate transportation of victims to a safe place; enabled protective orders to be enforced across county lines; and established conditions of bond in domestic violence cases.
An omnibus bill known as the Family Protection Act of 1992 revised several sections of the WV Code located in Chapters 15, 48, 49, 61, and 62. Among other things, this law expanded and clarified the definition of household members, the responsibilities of law enforcement officers and their jurisdictions, the length of protection orders, and issues related to conditions for bond. This Act also termed domestic violence as a "crime that can no longer be excused or tolerated."
An amendment to the WV Code included a statement in the marriage license saying that each party has protected rights to live within the marriage free from violence and abuse, and that certain activities among spouses or other family members are crimes punishable by law. Amendments to another section of the WV Code created the misdemeanor offense of stalking for the first two convictions, and a felony offense for the third conviction.
Amendments to the WV Code created crimes of domestic assault and domestic battery and allowed law enforcement officers the power to make an arrest when probable cause existed that the crime of domestic violence occurred. Another bill passed that eliminated corporal punishment in schools. On the federal level, the Violence Against Women Act was passed. This Act established full faith and credit of valid protection orders across state lines; created new crimes of interstate domestic violence and interstate violation of protection orders; established civil remedies for crimes of violence motivated by gender; created protections for battered immigrant women and their children; included firearms restrictions for those subject to domestic violence protection orders and/or who are guilty of the crime of domestic violence.
The Legislature passed a bill creating a forensic medical examination fund for use by the WV Prosecutor's Institute to pay for the costs of forensic medical examinations for persons alleging to be a victim of sexual assault and/or rape.
Governor Cecil Underwood signed an Executive Order creating the Governor's Family Violence Coordinating Council. The mandate of the Council is to assess the status of domestic violence in West Virginia and to make recommendations to the Governor and the legislature in the year 2000.
The legislature passed a comprehensive bill that focused primarily on the prevention of domestic and family violence. The Domestic Violence Prevention Act of 1998 expands the definition of domestic violence to include dating violence; lengthens the time of an initial order to a maximum of 180 days; enhances state law to reflect provisions of the Violence Against Women Act in the areas of full faith and credit and firearms restrictions; requires training on the dynamics of and laws regarding domestic violence for various professionals and state employees; directs the Department of Education to develop age appropriate curricula that specifically addresses domestic and family violence; directs the Bureau of Public Health to develop a statewide public health plan and to publish model standards on health care response to domestic violence for health care facilities.
The legislature overhauled the Domestic Relations Law and made major changes to the procedure for asset allocations in the divorce process. Changes were also mandated to the process of determining child custody and child support. This revision will shift the final hearing of Family Protection Orders from the Magistrate Court System to a Family Court System in April, 2001.
In 2000, a bill was passed creating a felony offense for the possession of firearms by persons under domestic violence protection orders. In this session, the legislature also passed into law a criminal felony penalty for employees of correctional facilities who engage in sexual activity with incarcerated persons. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act was also enacted into law.