HB 264 – Protective Order for Victims of Sexual Assault

House Bill 264(S) creates a protection from abuse order for survivors of sexual assault, and I am shocked to learn that such a thing does not already exist.

Well, we do have Protection From Abuse Orders, and they can be applied for after a sexual offense has occurred, but they generally apply to only domestice violence situations between family or household members.

This bill will take the domestic violence and familial or cohabitation requirements out of it. This bill will permits a person who has been the victim of non-consensual sexual conduct or assault to apply for a sexual violence protective order if the person has a reasonable fear, based on specific conduct occurring contemporaneously or subsequent to the non-consensual sexual conduct or penetration, that the perpetrator of the sexual conduct will harm the petitioner in the future. 

A sexual violence protection order is available only for petitioners who would not qualify for a protection from abuse order because there is no family or dating relationship between the victim and perpetrator.

An ex parte temporary order may be issued if a petitioner proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the respondent poses an immediate and present danger of causing physical injury to the petitioner. The protective order is a civil remedy available whether or not the respondent has been charged with a crime and whether or not the petitioner reported the respondent’s conduct to law enforcement officials.

Violation of a sexual violence protective order is punishable as criminal contempt, either as a class A misdemeanor, or Class F felony if contempt of the order results in physical injury, or involved threatened use, or use of, a deadly weapon or firearm.

Petitions under the Act must be verified. If any party falsely swears in a petition or hearing under the Act, the person may be liable for a misdemeanor or felony.

House Bill 264(S) SponsorsYes VotesNo Votes
Griffith, Longhurst, Heffernan, Dorsey Walker, Baumbach, Minor-Brown, K.Williams
Poore, Gay, Hansen
Current Status: House Appropriations 1/27/22

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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