House Substitute 1 for House Bill 264
151st General Assembly (Present)
Ready for Governor for action
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLES 10 AND 11 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO PROTECTIVE ORDERS FOR VICTIMS OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE.
This Act permits a person who has been the victim of non-consensual sexual conduct or non-consensual sexual penetration 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. 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. The Act provides for an emergency ex parte hearing as well as a non-emergency hearing in Superior Court. Possible remedies in addition to an order restraining the respondent from any kind of contact with the petitioner include restraining the respondent form going to, or remaining in, the places a petitioner might frequent including home, school, or work. 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. 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. The Act also makes technical corrections to existing law to make it conform to the Legislative Drafting Manual. The Act takes effect 6 months after its enactment.
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Takes effect upon being signed into law