Georgia

Are you concerned about abuse?  

If you want to talk to someone about the violence in your life or in the life of someone you know, please call Georgia’s 24-Hour Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline, 1.800.33.HAVEN (1.800.334.2836) V/TTY. As a friend or family member of someone experiencing domestic violence, it is important to be there for them and let them know that the abuse is not their fault.

A domestic violence advocate can talk to victims, friends and family to plan for safety.  They may be able to offer resources in your community or give you or your family support.  Domestic violence programs offer victims and their families a variety of services in the community and are here to support you 24 hours a day.

Learn about common services offered by domestic programs:

  • A plan for safety
    • A domestic violence advocate can talk to you about specific things that may help you stay safe, whether you choose leave the relationship or stay.  They will help you understand how leaving can be the most dangerous time for someone that is abused and how to plan for safety if you decide to leave.
  • A plan for family members and friends safety concerns
    • A domestic violence advocate can talk to friends and family members and suggest ways in which you can talk to the person is abused so that they know you are concerned for their safety and want to help them.
  • Support groups or talk therapy for the victim and/or their children
    • Sometimes it helps to talk to others about the abuse in your life.  You can normally attend group or get talk therapy even if you decide that you do not wish to move into the shelter.
  • Legal advocacy and resources
    • Many domestic violence programs offer the help of legal advocates as you plan for how to respond to the abuse you are experiencing or have experienced.  They can guide you through court processes for a variety of services, including custody concerns.  Some domestic violence programs may even have attorneys that can offer you advice.  Please note, however, that many legal advocates are not attorneys and cannot give legal advice.
  • Assistance with food, childcare and housing
    • Many domestic violence programs can advise you on how to apply for public assistance or have funds to help you with emergency food needs, transitional housing or childcare.
  • Career assistance
    • Many domestic violence programs are able to assist with helping you find employment.
  • A safe shelter for victims and their children (if this is what the victim chooses)
    • Each shelter is different.  Some shelters are large and some are small.  Many have a communal living environment where you are close to other survivors and their children.
  • Options to keep your pets safe
    • Some shelters allow pets and some cannot, but all shelters should be able to give you assistance in helping your pet escape safely where you can reunite with your pet later.
  • Specialized services for individuals with disabilities
    • All domestic violence programs are required by law to give reasonable accomodation to individuals with disabilities and their service animals.

If you live in Georgia, call the 24-Hour Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline – 1.800.33.HAVEN (1.800.334.2836) V/TTY.

Georgia Laws Related to Domestic Violence

Legal advocates and attorneys employed in domestic violence agencies throughout Georgia can give victims and survivors information related to legal options.  To contact a legal advocate, please call Georgia’s Statewide 24-Hour Domestic Violence Hotline, 1.800.33.HAVEN (1.800.334.2836) V/TTY.

Temporary Protective Order (TPO)

A Temporary Protective Order (TPO) offers a legal remedy to victims who have been abused.  A TPO is a civil court action in which a judge orders your abuser to stay away from you and to not contact you by any means.  Generally when a TPO has been issued, your abuser will be required to attend a 24 week Family Violence Intervention Program (FVIP.)  When you file a TPO, you can ask for possession of the family home, the custody of your children and pets, child support, and other relief.  As a part of a TPO, the judge may remove your abuser from your home, require your abuser to attend an FVIP, and, if applicable, order your abuser not to interfere with your immigration status.  If a non-citizen, the TPO could possibly lead to the deportation of your abuser if the TPO is violated.

Although an abuser is ultimately responsible for violent actions, a TPO can help bring criminal charges to a person that violates a TPO and tries to contact a victim of domestic violence. To learn more about how to obtain a TPO in your area, we recommend that you call 1.800.33.HAVEN (1.800.334.2836) V/TTY.  

Criminal Charges

If you or your loved ones have been physically injured, raped, stalked, or harassed, the state may press criminal charges or get a criminal warrant against your abuser.  If prosecuted, your abuser could be arrested and possibly imprisoned.  The abuser may also be ordered to attend a 24-week Family Violence Intervention Program (FVIP).  You may be eligible for support and services from the Victim Witness Program or Crime Victim Compensation.

Be aware that some criminal charges could lead to the deportation of abusers that are non-U.S. citizens.  If you have specific questions or concerns about filing or responding to criminal charges against someone that has been abusive to you, GCADV recommend that you talk to a trusted legal advocate or attorney.  To contact a domestic violence advocate, please call 1.800.33.HAVEN (1.800.334.2836) V/TTY.

Resources

For information related to Georgia Representatives, Senators, codes and bills, check out the Georgia General Assembly website.

VictimLaw is a user-friendly database of victims’ rights laws.  Also, check out the The National Women’s Law Center.

The Georgia Domestic Violence Benchbook is a tool that can be used to learn more about the laws in Georgia related to domestic violence.  This resource starts with five chapters containing extensive information on domestic violence statutory and case law in both civil and criminal courts.

Appendices provide information, including, but not limited to, immigrant and refugee laws and issues, the taking of weapons in civil cases, dynamics and assessing lethality in domestic violence cases, mental health issues, standardized forms promulgated by the Uniform Superior Court Rules, and the GA Supreme Court’s Mediation Guidelines for domestic violence cases.  In addition, users will find the following revisions:

  • The civil and criminal law chapters have all been updated as of October 2007
  • A Case Law Index and Glossary
  • Finding specific information has been improved by replacing the Subject Index with a Word Index
  • A link is provided to the newly revised, Supreme Court approved, domestic violence forms
  • Options for ordering a hard-copy manual

Family Violence Codes in Georgia

If you are unsure which part of the code you would like to view, see below for a brief description of codes related to domestic violence.  To visit the Offical Code of Georgia, please click here. Once on this website, read the site cautions and click the “okay” button.  You can then enter the code number in the search box or scroll down to expand the section to find the particular code you are searching.

Family Violence in General

19-13-1 through 19-13-4   The Georgia Family Violence Act.  Gives the court authority to order temporary relief as it deems necessary to protect a person from violence.

19-13-1   This statute gives the legal definition of Family Violence, including which acts and what relationships fit that definition.

19-13-10   Defines Family Violence Intervention Program (FVIP)

19-13-16   Requirements of courts to order defendants on Family Violence cases into Family Violence Intervention Programs (FVIPs)

17-4-20.1   Primary Aggressor Statute

17-4-20.1   Allows for arrest under Family Violence with or without a warrant if probable cause exists.

17-4-40   Allows judge to immediately issue arrest warrant without an application hearing if offense is consistent with an act of family violence.

Shelter-related issues

19-13-21   Defines duties and functions of the Department of Human Services as the certifying body for Georgia’s domestic violence shelters.

19-13-22   Defines domestic violence shelter certification requirements for Department of Human Services funding.

19-13-23   Criminalizes disclosure of a shelter address.

15-10-82   Waives costs for swearing out a warrant or service of a protection order or witness subpoena in domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault cases.

Protection Orders

19-13-2   Jurisdiction of Superior Court, clarifies where civil actions, including protection orders, should be filed.

19-13-3   Lays out the process for Temporary Protection Orders, including filing an order and second hearings. Clarifies the role of advocates in the TPO process.

19-13-4   What protective orders and consent agreements can provide for, expiration, enforcement, limits regarding issuance of mutual orders.

19-13-6   Violation of a Protective Order.

15-6-77   TPO Filing Fees and Requirements for Providing Interpreters:

16-5-95   Offense of Violating a Family Violence Order.

15-10-82   Waives costs for swearing out a warrant or service of a protection order or witness subpoena in domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault cases.

Out of State Protection Orders

19-9-93   Foreign protective orders-Full Faith and Credit.

19-13-54   Filing and registry of foreign protective orders.

Stalking

16-5-90   Defines stalking and outlines penalties for stalking.

16-5-91   Defines aggravated stalking and outlines penalties.

16-5-93   Outlines a victim’s right to notification of release of stalker.

16-5-94   Provides for restraining order for stalking victim, with information on jurisdiction and content of orders.

24-9-103   Interpreters for the Hearing Impaired

15-10-82   Waives costs for swearing out a warrant or service of a protection order or witness subpoena in domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault cases.

Other Family Violence Related Criminal Codes

16-5-20   Simple Assault

16-5-21   Aggravated Assault

16-5-23   Simple Battery

16-5-24   Aggravated Battery

16-5-41   False imprisonment

16-6-1   Rape

16-6-2   Aggravated Sodomy

16-6-22.2   Aggravated Sexual Battery

16-6-4   Child Molestation

Two Strikes You’re Out: Under Georgia’s “Two Strikes You’re Out” law, effective January 1, 1995, defendants convicted for the second time of a “serious violent felony” must be given a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole. The law applies to seven violent crimes: murder or felony murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, rape, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy and aggravated sexual battery. (pg. 80, “Women and the Law, A Guide to Women’s Legal Rights in Georgia” the Georgia Commission on Women.)