Loudoun domestic violence professionals speak out

From Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter/Loudoun Citizens for Social Justice:

LAWS/LCSJ Board Speaks Out About Amendment 1

Your voice is needed!
Don’t strip protections from domestic violence victims.

To All Concerned Community Members:

This November you will be asked to vote on an amendment to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia which, if passed, will expose thousands of women in the Commonwealth to abuse by eliminating many of their legal protections. This amendment will appear as ballot question #1.

In the past, Virginia’s lawmakers have recognized that domestic violence occurs in relationships where people are not married and created laws to provide safety for victims and their children, regardless of marital status. Currently under Virginia law, unmarried domestic violence victims who have lived with abusers in the past year, who have children with the abusers, or are divorced from the abuser, are provided with the same legal protections as married domestic violence victims.

If the Virginia Constitution is amended as proposed, these laws will be challenged, and the protections they provide could disappear for unmarried Virginians. These protections include access to civil protective orders, which provide protections such as:

* Safety from further abuse for the victim and family members

* Limited contact with the abuser

* Access to temporary housing or family home

* Temporary custody of children

* Temporary child support

* Use of the family car

* Counseling for the abuser

* Warrentless arrest for violation of a protective order

Current laws in the Commonwealth already prohibit the actions that this amendment purports to ban (§ 20-45.2 and § 20-45.3). Therefore, the amendment accomplishes nothing in terms of improving our quality of life in the Commonwealth; yet threatens to eliminate protection for many women and children in our community. The Board of Directors of the Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter (LAWS) urges you to join with us in making sure that the voters in our community are aware that their vote in favor of this amendment will endanger many families, as similar actions have done in other states. This amendment effort must be defeated. Please urge your family and friends to become familiar with this amendment and consider the serious consequences for victims if it should pass.

The Board of Directors

Loudoun Citizens for Social Justice

The Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter

Get more information and resources about the proposed amendment from the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance.

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