Domestic Violence Laws

Protective Order Process

What is a protective order?

A protective order is a court order signed by a judge designed to prevent further acts of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

The person who files the order is the Petitioner, and the person filed against is the Respondent.

Criminal Law

There are a variety of statutes in Kentucky that may be invoked when an act of domestic violence occurs, such as assault, felony assault, terroristic threatening, menacing, wanton endangerment, rape, sodomy, sexual abuse, and manslaughter/murder. Elements of these crimes can be found in various provisions of the Kentucky penal code, contained in Title L of the Kentucky Revised Statutes (scroll down to Title L Penal Code).

Custody & Divorce

Although issues surrounding custody and divorce are often of paramount importance to victims of domestic violence, especially when attempting to flee an abusive relationship, such issues are highly complex and very fact-driven. If at all possible, victims should attempt to contact an attorney for advice on their own specific circumstances and needs.

Gun Restrictions

Kentucky law allows victims with Kentucky Domestic Violence Orders (DVOs) to be notified if the person their protective order is against (respondent) tries to buy a gun or similar weapon. Federal law, commonly known as the Brady Bill, prevents certain people with Domestic Violence Orders against them from buying or having guns or similar weapons. These people include the victim’s abusive parents or an abusive intimate partner. An intimate partner is your spouse, former spouse, parent of your child, or someone you live with or have lived with in an intimate relationship.

Kentucky Laws Relating To Victim Advocates

Under the Kentucky Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights, a victim of a crime has the right to be accompanied to all court proceedings by a qualified victim’s advocate. All KCADV’s member programs have advocates that can accompany victims to court. Such advocates can provide much needed information about the court process, and provide emotional support and critical safety planning around court appearances. Please contact your local domestic violence program to inquire whether an advocate is available to accompany you to court.

Mandatory Reporting

Kentucky law requires mandatory reporting of child abuse, neglect, and dependency (KRS 620) and the abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of adults who have a physical or mental disability and are unable to protect themselves; this might include an elderly person (KRS 209). Reports are typically made to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.