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Virginia

Local Resources

Stalking often occurs along with other crimes, like domestic violence and sexual assault. While there are no state coalitions for victims of stalking, many domestic violence and sexual assault programs are able to provide assistance. Many of the resources can be confusing to navigate, victim advocates are available to talk to you about address confidentiality and your states criminal and civil stalking laws. Victim advocates can also assist you with safety planning, keeping a log of stalking incidents, and how to be safe when using technology. Find services and/or an advocate in your county using the following links:

Address Confidentiality

Address confidentiality programs allow victims of stalking, sexual assault, domestic violence, or other types of crime to receive mail at a substitute address, which keeps their actual address private and prevents offenders from locating the victim through public records. Mail is sent to the legal substitute address, often a post office box, and then forwarded to the victim’s actual address. The substitute address can be provided whenever the victim’s address is required by a public agency.

Click here for more information on the Address Confidentiality Program in Virginia.

Criminal Stalking Laws

Criminal stalking laws define when a perpetrator may be charged with the crime of stalking, and what infractions are required to bring such a charge. The laws usually define various misdemeanor and felony offenses that correlate with the severity of the transgression. Based on police investigation, a state prosecutor will determine what charges to bring against an offender, and will then file charges against the perpetrator (formally known as an indictment). A trial typically follows, and the defendant may be offered a plea agreement. The criminal statute will also delineate potential punishments, if the perpetrator is convicted, which may include probation, house arrest, and incarceration, among others. Restitution may be requested and awarded to the victim by court order following a conviction, usually at a sentencing hearing.

Click here for more information on criminal stalking laws in Virginia.

Civil Stalking Laws

Civil stalking laws allow victims of stalking to initiate a lawsuit to recover compensation from the perpetrator and any third party that may be responsible for the crime. In a civil lawsuit, there is no possibility of a criminal punishment; instead, the victim plaintiff is suing for actual harm (known as actual damages), punitive damages, attorney’s fees, and court costs. Civil statutes also often provide for victims to obtain protective orders against the perpetrator.

Click here for more information on civil stalking laws in Virginia.

National Resources

  • VictimConnect Resource Center - Confidential information, support and referrals for victims of crime via telephone, chat and text including safety planning and crime reporting.
  • WomensLaw.org - State-specific legal information related regarding protection orders, custody, divorce, state gun laws and more. WomensLaw.org also operates an email hotline where victims, their family/friends and advocates can write to ask legal questions.

Address Confidentiality

The Virginia State Address Confidentiality Program assists crime victims who have relocated. Click here to find help with your application in your county. Click here to learn more about what the program in your state covers.

Contact Information

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Criminal Stalking Laws

Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-60.3.  Stalking; penalty (2013)

A. Any person, except a law-enforcement officer, as defined in § 9.1-101, and acting in the performance of his official duties, and a registered private investigator, as defined in § 9.1-138, who is regulated in accordance with § 9.1-139 and acting in the course of his legitimate business, who on more than one occasion engages in conduct directed at another person with the intent to place, or when he knows or reasonably should know that the conduct places that other person in reasonable fear of death, criminal sexual assault, or bodily injury to that other person or to that other person's family or household member is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

B. Any person who is convicted of a second offense of subsection A occurring within five years of a prior conviction of such an offense when the person was also convicted within the five-year period prior to the instant offense of a violation of (i) § 18.2-51, 18.2-51.2, 18.2-51.6, 18.2-52, or 18.2-57 and the victim of that crime was the same person who is the victim of the stalking activity in the instant conviction, (ii) § 18.2-57.2, or (iii) a protective order, is guilty of a Class 6 felony.

C. Any person convicted of a third or subsequent conviction of subsection A occurring within five years of a conviction for an offense under this section or for a similar offense under the law of any other jurisdiction is guilty of a Class 6 felony.

D. A person may be convicted under this section irrespective of the jurisdiction or jurisdictions within the Commonwealth wherein the conduct described in subsection A occurred, if the person engaged in that conduct on at least one occasion in the jurisdiction where the person is tried. Evidence of any such conduct that occurred outside the Commonwealth may be admissible, if relevant, in any prosecution under this section provided that the prosecution is based upon conduct occurring within the Commonwealth.

E. Upon finding a person guilty under this section, the court shall, in addition to the sentence imposed, issue an order prohibiting contact between the defendant and the victim or the victim's family or household member.

F. The Department of Corrections, sheriff or regional jail director shall give notice prior to the release from a state correctional facility or a local or regional jail of any person incarcerated upon conviction of a violation of this section, to any victim of the offense who, in writing, requests notice, or to any person designated in writing by the victim. The notice shall be given at least 15 days prior to release of a person sentenced to a term of incarceration of more than 30 days or, if the person was sentenced to a term of incarceration of at least 48 hours but no more than 30 days, 24 hours prior to release. If the person escapes, notice shall be given as soon as practicable following the escape. The victim shall keep the Department of Corrections, sheriff or regional jail director informed of the current mailing address and telephone number of the person named in the writing submitted to receive notice.

All information relating to any person who receives or may receive notice under this subsection shall remain confidential and shall not be made available to the person convicted of violating this section.

For purposes of this subsection, "release" includes a release of the offender from a state correctional facility or a local or regional jail (i) upon completion of his term of incarceration or (ii) on probation or parole.

No civil liability shall attach to the Department of Corrections nor to any sheriff or regional jail director or their deputies or employees for a failure to comply with the requirements of this subsection.

G. For purposes of this section:

"Family or household member" has the same meaning as provided in § 16.1-228.

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Civil Stalking Laws

Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-42.3. Civil action for stalking. (2001)
A. A victim has a civil cause of action against an individual who engaged in conduct that is prohibited under § 18.2-60.3, whether or not the individual has been charged or convicted for the alleged violation, for the compensatory damages incurred by the victim as a result of that conduct, in addition to the costs for bringing the action. If compensatory damages are awarded, a victim may also be awarded punitive damages.

B. As used in this section:

"Compensatory damages" includes damages for all of the defendant's acts prohibited by § 18.2-60.3.

"Victim" means a person who, because of the conduct of the defendant that is prohibited under § 18.2-60.3, was placed in reasonable fear of death, criminal sexual assault, or bodily injury to himself or to a minor child of whom the person is a parent or legal guardian.

C. No action shall be commenced under this section more than two years after the most recent conduct prohibited under § 18.2-60.3.

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