Since the mid-1970's, the nation has been giving increased attention to the problem of spouse abuse. This increased attention arose a decade after the nation became acutely aware that child abuse was a problem in this country. Heightened awareness of the fact that violence occurs between family members was accompanied by recognition that available legal remedies were inadequate. The remedies available to the abused spouse in most states other than Virginia include not only prosecution through the criminal justice system but also civil protective orders which may be obtained by victims either as an alternative to or in conjunction with criminal prosecution. To insure that such orders accomplish the pur- pose of preventing further abuse, courts can decree that the abuser be denied use and possession of a shared residence for a specified period of time. This type of protection raises due process issues, in light of the fact that these orders may be obtained in an ex parte proceeding. Such protective orders, however, have thus far withstood constitutional attack.

Included in

Family Law Commons