Kentucky Laws on Domestic Violence

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    Kentucky Protection Orders

    • Citizens of Kentucky can get an order of protection from a Kentucky judge if they have been the victims of domestic violence or fear for their physical safety. Domestic violence or abuse occurs when there is physical injury, assault, sexual abuse or the victim has fear of physical injury, assault or sexual abuse. A domestic violence protective order can only be given to those seeking protection from a spouse or former spouse, parents, the parent of the victim's child, the victim's child, a blood relative or relative by marriage or a partner the victim lived with. Orders of protection cannot be given to a victim in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship that has not produced a child or has not included cohabitation.

      Victims under age 18 must have an adult file the order of protection on their behalf in Kentucky.

    Out of State Enforcement

    • According to, a Kentucky domestic violence order can be enforced in another state if it meets the requirements of the federal Violence Against Women Act. If the order was issued by the state of Kentucky to prevent violent acts, sexual violence and harassing behavior, the issuing court had jurisdiction over the principals involved in the order and the state gave notice to the abuser and opportunity to refute the claims.

    Criminal Laws

    • The state of Kentucky prosecutes domestic violence offenders with criminal laws against assault, rape, sexual abuse, manslaughter, murder, menacing, threatening and wanton endangerment laws. Kentucky laws that specifically address domestic violence issues include violation of protection orders. The laws also allow the state to classify an assault as a felony when it occurs for a third time by the same person on a family member or domestic partner.

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