Domestic Relations

Domestic Abuse Prevention

SECTION 15-15-1

§ 15-15-1. Definitions.

The following words as used in this chapter have the following meanings:

(1) "Course of conduct" means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, evidencing a continuity of purpose. Constitutionally protected activity is not included within the meaning of "course of conduct."

(2) "Courts" means the family court.

(3) "Cyberstalking" means transmitting any communication by computer to any person or causing any person to be contacted for the sole purpose of harassing that person or his or her family.

(4) "Domestic abuse" means:

The occurrence of one or more of the following acts between present or former family members, parents, stepparents, a plaintiff parent's minor child(ren) to which the defendant is not a blood relative or relative by marriage, or persons who are or have been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship within the past one year in which at least one of the persons is a minor:

(i) Attempting to cause or causing physical harm;

(ii) Placing another in fear of imminent serious physical harm;

(iii) Causing another to engage involuntarily in sexual relations by force, threat of force, or duress; or

(iv) Stalking or cyberstalking.

(5) "Harassing" means following a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person with the intent to seriously alarm, annoy, or bother the person, and which serves no legitimate purpose. The course of conduct must be such as would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, or be in fear of bodily injury.

(6) "Parents" mean persons who together are the legal parents of one or more children, regardless of their marital status or whether they have lived together at any time.

(7) "Present or former family member" means the spouse, former spouse, minor children, stepchildren, a plaintiff parent's minor child(ren) to which the defendant is not a blood relative or relative by marriage, minor children of substantive dating partners, or persons who are related by blood or marriage.

(8) "Sexual exploitation" means the occurrence of any of the following acts by any person who knowingly or willfully encourages, aids, or coerces any child under the age of eighteen (18) years:

(i) Recruiting, employing, enticing, soliciting, isolating, harboring, transporting, providing, persuading, obtaining, or maintaining, or so attempting, any minor for the purposes of commercial sex acts or sexually explicit performances; or selling or purchasing a minor for the purposes of commercial sex acts.

(A) "Commercial sex act" means any sex act or sexually explicit performance on account of which anything of value is given, promised to, or received, directly or indirectly, by any person.

(B) "Sexually explicit performance" means an act or show, intended to arouse, satisfy the sexual desires of, or appeal to the prurient interests of patrons or viewers, whether public or private, live, photographed, recorded, or videotaped.

(9) "Stalking" means harassing another person or willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly following another person with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear of bodily injury.

(10) "Substantive dating" or "engagement relationship" means a significant and personal/intimate relationship that shall be adjudged by the court's consideration of the following factors:

(i) The length of time of the relationship;

(ii) The type of relationship; and

(iii) The frequency of interaction between the parties.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1982, ch. 389, § 1; P.L. 1985, ch. 375, § 1; P.L. 1988, ch. 539, § 2; P.L. 1994, ch. 315, § 1; P.L. 2000, ch. 167, § 1; P.L. 2001, ch. 259, § 3; P.L. 2004, ch. 6, § 27; P.L. 2006, ch. 324, § 2; P.L. 2006, ch. 652, § 2; P.L. 2017, ch. 105, § 1; P.L. 2017, ch. 111, § 1; P.L. 2019, ch. 59, § 1; P.L. 2019, ch. 66, § 1; P.L. 2020, ch. 79, art. 2, § 5.)