W.Va. Lawmakers Working to Protect More Victims of Stalking and Abuse

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Victims of domestic violence or stalking often say the law is not on their side, but there’s a renewed effort to keep you safe in West Virginia.

The current law is bare bones. You can't get a protective order unless you're related or you live together.

That only includes about 12 percent of victims of sexual or domestic abuse, stalking and harassment. Lawmakers are working to help the other 88 percent who spend their days filled with frustration and fear.

“It shouldn't matter whether the person that hurt you was somebody that you live with or somebody that you don't live with,” REACH Director Marla Willcox Eddy said.

Supporters of the bill say it would put the law back on victims’ side.

“It prohibits an individual from getting near or close to or having any contact or interaction with the other individual. If they violate that order, then they can be put in jail,” Senate President Jeff Kessler said.

Protective orders can now be filed against anybody accused of abusing, stalking or harassing.

Some fear a piece of paper isn't enough, but the threat of consequences might just help.

“If that person sees that person driving back in forth in front of their house, if they call now, they know that the police will come,” Eddy said.

This bill was unanimously passed Wednesday in the Senate. It now goes to the House.

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