The Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Legal Resources

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.


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 (GDVB) serves as a free resource to all those who seek to understand issues related to domestic violence in our state. It is a compendium of state and federal law and law-related material relevant to domestic violence.

Created in 2005, when the idea for a domestic violence chapter in the existing Superior Courts Benchbook grew into a stand-alone resource, the first five editions of the benchbook were edited by Nancy Hunter. Since 2010, Joan Prittie has served as editor of the last three editions.

There are five chapters covering civil protective orders, jurisdiction and procedure, remedies, settlements, and orders, criminal law, and evidence. In addition, there are 21 Appendices that include information on a wide range of topics including dynamics, mediation, lethality factors, judicial compliance hearings, children, restitution, victims’ compensation, public benefits, and more.

The GDVB can be downloaded on the Institute of Continuing Judicial Education website HERE.

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.


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.)

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