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National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or (TTY) 1-800-787-3224

Know the Laws

These pages include plain language legal information about state, federal, and tribal laws related to domestic violence and sexual assault.


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If you choose an area of law that is based on state law, you will be asked to choose your state to read about  that state's laws.  Once you choose a state, this site will remember your state until you change it or log out of your browser.

State Laws

  • State Law Overview

    Most of the laws related to domestic violence and sexual assault are state laws.

  • Restraining Orders

    A restraining order is a legal order requiring one person to stop harming another.

  • Custody

    General information about custody and visitation laws.

  • Parental Kidnapping

    This page addresses the laws of taking your child away from another parent without that parent's consent.

  • Divorce

    General information (not state-specific) about the basic steps to get a divorce.

  • Crimes

    General information (not state-specific) about crimes the abuser may have committed.

  • State Gun Laws

    If you have a restraining order or if the abuser was convicted of a crime, s/he may be required not to possess any firearms.

  • Suing Your Abuser

    You may have a right to sue your abuser for medical costs, destroyed property, or other damages.

Federal Laws

  • Immigration

    Immigration information for victims of domestic violence or sexual abuse.

  • Federal Gun Laws

    Under federal law, which applies to all states, an abuser may lose his right to have a gun.

  • Military

    Information about military protection orders and confidentiality on military bases.

Tribal Law

  • Tribal Law

    Information about tribal protection orders and other remedies.

Religious Law