Code of the District of Columbia

Chapter 10. Proceedings Regarding Intrafamily Offenses.


Subchapter I. Intrafamily Proceedings Generally.

§ 16–1001. Definitions.

For the purposes of this subchapter, the term:

(1) “Attorney General” means the Attorney General for the District of Columbia.

(2) “Court” means the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

(3) “Custodian” shall have the meaning as provided in § 16-2301(12).

(4) “Domestic partnership” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 32-701(4).

(5) “Domestic Violence Unit” means any subdivision of the court designated by court rule, or by order of the Chief Judge of the court, to hear proceedings under this subchapter.

(6) “Interpersonal violence” means an act punishable as a criminal offense that is committed or threatened to be committed by an offender upon a person:

(A) With whom the offender shares or has shared a mutual residence; or

(B) Who is or was married to, in a domestic partnership with, divorced or separated from, or in a romantic, dating, or sexual relationship with another person who is or was married to, in a domestic partnership with, divorced or separated from, or in a romantic, dating, or sexual relationship with the offender.

(7) “Intimate partner violence” means an act punishable as a criminal offense that is committed or threatened to be committed by an offender upon a person:

(A) To whom the offender is or was married;

(B) With whom the offender is or was in a domestic partnership; or

(C) With whom the offender is or was in a romantic, dating, or sexual relationship.

(8) “Intrafamily offense” means interpersonal, intimate partner, or intrafamily violence.

(9) “Intrafamily violence” means an act punishable as a criminal offense that is committed or threatened to be committed by an offender upon a person to whom the offender is related by blood, adoption, legal custody, marriage, or domestic partnership, or with whom the offender has a child in common.

(10) “Judicial officer” means the Chief Judge, an Associate Judge, or a Magistrate Judge of the court.

(11) “Minor” means a person under 18 years of age.

(12) “Petitioner” means any person who alleges, or for whom is alleged, that he or she is the victim of interpersonal, intimate partner, or intrafamily violence, stalking, sexual assault, or sexual abuse.

(13) “Respondent” means any person 12 years of age or older against whom a petition for civil protection is filed under this subchapter.


(July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 546, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 131(a); Sept. 14, 1982, D.C. Law 4-144, § 2, 29 DCR 3131; Apr. 30, 1991, D.C. Law 8-261,§ 2(c)(1), 37 DCR 5001; Mar. 21, 1995, D.C. Law 10-237, § 2(a), 42 DCR 36; Mar. 24, 1998, D.C. Law 12-81, § 10(i), 45 DCR 745; Apr. 24, 2007, D.C. Law 16-306, § 206(a), 53 DCR 8610; Dec. 5, 2008, D.C. Law 17-281, § 107(a), 55 DCR 9186; Mar. 25, 2009, D.C. Law 17-368, § 3(b)(2), 56 DCR 1338.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 16-1001.

1973 Ed., § 16-1001.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 2-1401.02, § 2-1402.21, § 4-1305.06, § 4-1345.01, § 7-2501.01, § 14-306, § 14-310, § 14-311, § 16-801, § 16-831.01, § 16-914, § 22-3020.53, § 22-4503, § 31-2231.11, § 32-131.01, § 42-3505.01, § 42-3505.07, § 42-3505.08, and § 51-131.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-306 rewrote par. (5).

D.C. Law 17-281 redesignated existing pars. (1) to (6) as pars. (2) to (7); and added par. (1).

D.C. Law 17-368 rewrote the section.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 206(a) of Omnibus Public Safety Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-445, July 19, 2006, 53 DCR 6443).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 206(a) of Omnibus Public Safety Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-490, October 18, 2006, 53 DCR 8686).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 206(a) of Omnibus Public Safety Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-10, January 16, 2007, 54 DCR 1479).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 206(a) of Omnibus Public Safety Second Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-25, April 19, 2007, 54 DCR 4036).


§ 16–1002. Complaint of criminal conduct.

A petitioner has a right to seek relief under this subchapter. This right does not depend on the decision of the Attorney General, the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, or a prosecuting attorney in any jurisdiction to initiate or not to initiate a criminal or delinquency case or on the pendency or termination of a criminal or delinquency case involving the same parties or issues. Testimony of the respondent in any civil proceedings under this subchapter shall be inadmissible as evidence in a criminal trial or delinquency proceeding except in a prosecution for perjury or false statement.


(July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 546, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 131(a); Sept. 14, 1982, D.C. Law 4-144, § 3, 29 DCR 3131; Mar. 24, 1998, D.C. Law 12-81,§ 10(j), 45 DCR 745; Mar. 25, 2009, D.C. Law 17-368, § 3(b)(2), 56 DCR 1338.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 16-1002.

1973 Ed., § 16-1002.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 17-368 rewrote the section.


§ 16–1003. Petition for civil protection.

(a) A petitioner, or a person authorized by this section to act on petitioner’s behalf, may file a petition for civil protection in the Domestic Violence Unit against a respondent who has allegedly committed or threatened to commit one or more criminal offenses against the petitioner; provided, that:

(1) If the petitioner is a minor, the petitioner’s parent, guardian, custodian, or other appropriate adult may file a petition for civil protection on the petitioner’s behalf;

(2) A minor who is 16 years of age or older may file a petition for civil protection on his or her own behalf;

(3) A minor who is at least 12 but less than 16 years of age and a victim of intimate partner violence may file a petition for civil protection and participate in a hearing to seek a temporary protection order without a parent, guardian, custodian, or other appropriate adult acting on his or her behalf, but, under these circumstances, the court may appoint an attorney for the minor in accordance with section 16-1005(a-1)(3), if necessary, and if doing so will not unduly delay the issuance or denial of a temporary protection order;

(4) A minor who is at least 12 but less than 16 years of age and a victim of interpersonal or intrafamily violence may petition for civil protection only if his or her parent, guardian, or custodian files the petition on his or her behalf;

(5) A minor who is less than 12 years of age may petition for civil protection only if his or her parent, guardian, or custodian files the petition on his or her behalf; and

(6) A custodial parent, guardian, or custodian of a minor may not file a petition for civil protection against the minor.

(b) The Attorney General may provide individual legal representation to a petitioner, or person authorized by this section to act on petitioner’s behalf, who files a petition in accordance with subsection (a) of this section. Whenever the Attorney General represents a petitioner under subsection (a) of this section, the representation shall continue until the civil protection order terminates or the Attorney General withdraws his or her appearance, whichever is earlier.

(c) If a petitioner is unable to file a petition on his or her own behalf or with the assistance of a parent, guardian, custodian, or other appropriate adult in accordance with subsection (a) of this section, the Attorney General may file a petition for civil protection on the petitioner’s behalf at the request of the petitioner, the petitioner’s representative, or a government agency. When proceeding on a petition filed under this subsection, the Attorney General represents the interests of the District of Columbia.


(July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 546, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 131(a); Sept. 14, 1982, D.C. Law 4-144, § 4, 29 DCR 3131; Mar. 21, 1995, D.C. Law 10-237,§ 2(b), 42 DCR 36; Mar. 25, 2009, D.C. Law 17-368, § 3(b)(2), 56 DCR 1338.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 16-1003.

1973 Ed., § 16-1003.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 16-1005 and § 16-2301.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 17-368 rewrote the section.


§ 16–1004. Petition; notice; temporary order.

(a) Upon a filing of a petition for civil protection, the Domestic Violence Unit shall set the matter for hearing, consolidating it, where appropriate, with other matters before the court involving members of the same family.

(b)(1) If, upon the filing of a petition under oath, a judicial officer finds that the safety or welfare of the petitioner or a household member is immediately endangered by the respondent, the judicial officer may issue, ex parte, a temporary protection order.

(2) An initial temporary protection order shall not exceed 14 days except, if the last day falls on a Saturday, Sunday, a day observed as a holiday by the court, or a day on which weather or other conditions cause the court to be closed, the temporary protection order shall extend until the end of the next day on which the court is open. The court may extend a temporary protection order in additional 14 day increments, or longer increments with the consent of the parties, as necessary until a hearing on the petition is completed.

(3) If a respondent fails to appear for a hearing on a petition for civil protection after having been served in accordance with the Rules of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, and a civil protection order is entered in accordance with § 16-1005, the temporary protection order shall remain in effect until the respondent is served with the civil protection order or the civil protection order expires, whichever occurs first.

(c) A temporary protection order issued pursuant to this section shall include a notice explaining that:

(1) If the day on which the temporary protection order is set to expire is a Saturday, Sunday, a day observed as a holiday by the court, or a day on which the weather or other conditions cause the court to be closed, the temporary protection order shall remain in effect until the end of the next day on which the court is open; and

(2) If the respondent fails to appear for a hearing on a petition for civil protection after having been served, and a civil protection order is entered, the temporary protection order will remain in effect until the respondent is served with the civil protection order or the civil protection order expires, whichever occurs first.

(d) Pursuant to the Rules of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, the respondent, and in cases where the respondent is a minor, the respondent’s custodial parent, guardian, or custodian, shall be served with notice of the hearing and an order to appear, a copy of the petition, and a temporary protection order, if entered. The court may also cause notice to be served on others whose presence at the hearing is necessary to the proper disposition of the matter.

(e) If a minor has filed a petition for civil protection without a parent, guardian, or custodian, and if the minor is residing with a parent, guardian, or custodian, the court shall send a copy of any order issued pursuant to subsection (b)(1) of this section and notice of the hearing to that parent, guardian, or custodian, unless, in the discretion of the court, notification of that parent, guardian, or custodian would be contrary to the best interests of the minor. If the court does not send notice to the parent, guardian, or custodian with whom the minor resides, the court may, in its discretion, send notice to any other parent, guardian, custodian, or other appropriate adult.


(July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 547, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 131(a); Sept. 14, 1982, D.C. Law 4-144, § 5, 29 DCR 3131; Mar. 2, 2007, D.C. Law 16-204, § 4, 53 DCR 9059; Mar. 25, 2009, D.C. Law 17-353, § 143, 56 DCR 1117; Mar. 25, 2009, D.C. Law 17-368, § 3(b)(2), 56 DCR 1338.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 16-1004.

1973 Ed., § 16-1004.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 16-1005.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-204, in subsec. (d), designated existing text as paragraph (1); in newly designated paragraph (1), substituted “of not more than 14 days duration, subject to extensions as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection” for “of not more than 14 days duration”; and inserted new paragraphs (2), (3) and (4).

D.C. Law 17-353 validated a previously made technical correction.

D.C. Law 17-368 rewrote the section.


§ 16–1005. Hearing; evidence; protection order.

(a) Individuals served with notice in accordance with § 16-1004 shall appear at the hearing.

(a-1)(1) In a case where the Attorney General files the petition on behalf of a petitioner pursuant to § 16-1003(c), the petitioner is not a required party.

(2) In a case where a parent, guardian, custodian, or other appropriate adult files a petition on behalf of a minor petitioner under the age of 12, the minor petitioner is not a required party.

(3) In a hearing under this section, if a parent, guardian, custodian, or other appropriate adult has petitioned for civil protection on behalf of a minor petitioner 12 years of age or older, the court shall consider the expressed wishes of the minor petitioner in deciding whether to issue an order pursuant to this section and in determining the contents of such an order.

(4) If a respondent is a minor, or if the petitioner is a minor and at least 12 years of age, and if the minor is not accompanied by a parent, guardian, custodian, other appropriate adult, or represented by an attorney, the court may appoint an attorney to represent the minor if such an appointment would not unduly delay the issuance or denial of a protection order. The court may promulgate rules for the appointment of attorneys.

(b) Notwithstanding section 14-306, in a hearing under this section, one spouse shall be a competent and compellable witness against the other and may testify as to confidential communications, but testimony compelled over a claim of a privilege conferred by such section shall be inadmissible in evidence in a criminal trial over the objection of a spouse entitled to claim that privilege.

(c) If, after hearing, the judicial officer finds that there is good cause to believe the respondent has committed or threatened to commit a criminal offense against the petitioner or against petitioner’s animal or an animal in petitioner’s household, the judicial officer may issue a protection order that:

(1) Directs the respondent to refrain from committing or threatening to commit criminal offenses against the petitioner and other protected persons;

(2) Requires the respondent to stay away from or have no contact with the petitioner and any other protected persons or locations;

(3) Requires the respondent to participate in psychiatric or medical treatment or appropriate counseling programs;

(4) Directs the respondent to refrain from entering, or to vacate, the dwelling unit of the petitioner when the dwelling is:

(A) Marital property of the parties;

(B) Jointly owned, leased, or rented and occupied by both parties; provided, that joint occupancy shall not be required if the respondent’s actions caused the petitioner to relinquish occupancy;

(C) Owned, leased, or rented by the petitioner individually; or

(D) Jointly owned, leased, or rented by the petitioner and a person other than the respondent;

(5) Directs the respondent to relinquish possession or use of certain personal property owned jointly by the parties or by the petitioner individually;

(6) Awards temporary custody of a minor child or children of the parties;

(7) Provides for visitation rights with appropriate restrictions to protect the safety of the petitioner;

(8) Awards costs and attorney fees;

(9) Orders the Metropolitan Police Department to take such action as the judicial officer deems necessary to enforce its orders;

(10) Directs the respondent to relinquish possession of any firearms;

(10A) Directs the care, custody, or control of a domestic animal that belongs to petitioner or respondent or lives in his or her household;

(11) Directs the respondent to perform or refrain from other actions as may be appropriate to the effective resolution of the matter; or

(12) Combines 2 or more of the preceding provisions.

(c-1) For the purposes of subsection (c)(6) and (7) of this section, if the judicial officer finds by a preponderance of evidence that a contestant for custody has committed an intrafamily offense, any determination that custody or visitation is to be granted to the abusive parent shall be supported by a written statement by the judicial officer specifying factors and findings which support that determination. In determining visitation arrangements, if the judicial officer finds that an intrafamily offense has occurred, the judicial officer shall only award visitation if the judicial officer finds that the child and custodial parent can be adequately protected from harm inflicted by the other party. The party found to have committed an intrafamily offense has the burden of proving that visitation will not endanger the child or significantly impair the child’s emotional development.

(d) A protection order issued pursuant to this section shall be effective for such period up to one year as the judicial officer may specify, but the judicial officer may, upon motion of any party to the original proceeding, extend, rescind, or modify the order for good cause shown.

(e) Any final order issued pursuant to this section and any order granting or denying extension, modification, or rescission of such order shall be appealable.

(f) Violation of any temporary or final order issued under this subchapter, or violation in the District of Columbia of any valid foreign protection order, as that term is defined in subchapter IV of this chapter, or respondent’s failure to appear as required by subsection (a) of this section, shall be punishable as contempt. Upon conviction, criminal contempt shall be punished by a fine of not more than the amount set forth in [§ 22-3571.01] or imprisonment for not more than 180 days, or both.

(g) Any person who violates any protection order issued under this subchapter, or any person who violates in the District of Columbia any valid foreign protection order, as that term is defined in subchapter IV of this chapter, shall be chargeable with a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine of not more than the amount set forth in [§ 22-3571.01] or by imprisonment for not more than 180 days, or both.

(g-1) Enforcement proceedings under subsections (f) and (g) of this section in which the respondent is a child as defined by § 16-2301(3) shall be governed by subchapter I of Chapter 23 of this title.

(h) For purposes of establishing a violation under subsections (f) and (g) of this section, an oral or written statement made by a person located outside the District of Columbia to a person located in the District of Columbia by means of telecommunication, mail, or any other method of communication shall be deemed to be made in the District of Columbia.

(i) Orders entered with the consent of the respondent but without an admission that the conduct occurred shall be punishable under subsection (f), (g), or (g-1) of this section.


(July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 547, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 131(a); Sept. 14, 1982, D.C. Law 4-144, § 6, 29 DCR 3131; Aug. 25, 1994, D.C. Law 10-154,§ 2(c), 41 DCR 4870; Mar. 21, 1995, D.C. Law 10-237, § 2(b), 42 DCR 36; Mar. 24, 1998, D.C. Law 12-81, § 10(k), 45 DCR 745; Apr. 11, 2003, D.C. Law 14-296, § 2(b), 50 DCR 320; Mar. 13, 2004, D.C. Law 15-105, §§ 10(a), 54(b), 51 DCR 881; Dec. 5, 2008, D.C. Law 17-281, § 107(b), 55 DCR 9186; Mar. 25, 2009, D.C. Law 17-368, § 3(b)(3), 56 DCR 1338; June 3, 2011, D.C. Law 18-377, § 5, 58 DCR 1174; June 11, 2013, D.C. Law 19-317, § 281(a), 60 DCR 2064.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 16-1005.

1973 Ed., § 16-1005.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 2-1402.21, § 5-127.04, § 7-2502.03, § 16-1003, § 16-1004, § 16-1042, § 42-3505.07, and § 42-3505.08.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 14-296 rewrote subsecs. (f) and (g); and added subsecs. (h) and (i).

D.C. Law 15-105, in subsec. (h), substituted “subsections (f) and (g)” for “subsection (g)”; and, in subsec. (i), substituted “subsection (f) or (g) of this section” for “§ 16-1005(f) or (g)”.

D.C. Law 17-281, in subsec. (c), inserted “, or animal cruelty,” in the lead-in language, deleted “or” from the end of par. (10), and added par. (10A).

D.C. Law 17-368 rewrote subsecs. (a) and (c); added subsecs. (a-1) and (g-1); in subsec. (d), substituted “judicial officer” for “Family Division” in two places; in subsec. (f), substituted “or respondent’s failure to appear as required by subsection (a) of this section” for “and respondent’s failure to appear as required by § 16-1004(b)”; and, in subsec. (i), substituted “(f), (g), or (g-1)” for “(f) or (g)”.

D.C. Law 18-377, in the lead-in language of subsec. (c), substituted “criminal offense against the petitioner or against petitioner’s animal or an animal in petitioner’s household,” for “criminal offense against the petitioner,”; and added subsec. (c)(10A).

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-317 substituted “of not more than the amount set forth in [§ 22-3571.01]” for “not exceeding $1,000” in (f) and (g).

Cross References

Metropolitan police, execution of orders under this section, see § 5-127.04.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Domestic Violence Protection Orders Technical Emergency Act of 2003 (D.C. Act 15-137, July 29, 2003, 50 DCR 6861).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Domestic Violence Protection Orders Technical Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2003 (D.C. Act 15-220, November 7, 2003, 50 DCR 10049).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Domestic Violence Protection Orders Technical Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-328, January 28, 2004, 51 DCR 1597).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 505 of Public Safety Legislation Sixty-Day Layover Emergency Amendment Act of 2010 (D.C. Act 18-693, January 18, 2011, 58 DCR 640).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 505 of Public Safety Legislation Sixty-Day Layover Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2011 (D.C. Act 19-45, April 20, 2011, 58 DCR 3701).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 281(a) of the Criminal Fine Proportionality Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-45, April 1, 2013, 60 DCR 5400, 20 DCSTAT 1300).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of the Domestic Violence Protection Orders Technical Temporary Act of 2003 (D.C. Law 15-48, December 9, 2003, law notification 51 DCR 1783).

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 19-317: Section 401 of D.C. Law 19-317 provided that the act shall apply only to offenses committed on or after June 11, 2013.


§ 16–1006. Jurisdiction.

A petitioner may file a petition for protection under this subchapter if:

(1) The petitioner resides, lives, works, or attends school in the District of Columbia:

(2) The petitioner is under the legal custody of a District government agency; or

(3) The underlying offense occurred in the District of Columbia.


(July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 548, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 131(a); Sept. 14, 1982, D.C. Law 4-144, § 7, 29 DCR 3131; Mar. 25, 2009, D.C. Law 17-368,§ 3(b)(4), 56 DCR 1338.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 16-1006.

1973 Ed., § 16-1006.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 17-368 rewrote the section, which had read as follows: “The Family Division may dismiss a petition if the matter is not appropriate for disposition in the Family Division.”


Subchapter II. Parental Kidnapping.

§ 16–1021. Definitions.

For the purposes of this subchapter, the term:

(1) “Child” means a person under the age of 16 years of age.

(2) “District” means the District of Columbia.

(3) “Lawful custodian” means a person who is authorized to have custody by an order of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia or a court of competent jurisdiction of any state, or a person designated by the lawful custodian temporarily to care for the child.

(4) “Relative” means a parent, other ancestor, brother, sister, uncle, or aunt, or one who has been lawful custodian at some prior time.


(May 23, 1986, D.C. Law 6-115, § 2, 33 DCR 2424; May 10, 1989, D.C. Law 7-231, § 25(b), 36 DCR 492; Mar. 24, 1998, D.C. Law 12-81, § 10(l), 45 DCR 745.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 16-1021.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 16-914.

Cross References

Custody of children, see § 16-911.


§ 16–1022. Prohibited acts.

(a) No parent, or any person acting pursuant to directions from the parent, may intentionally conceal a child from the child’s other parent.

(b) No relative, or any person acting pursuant to directions from the relative, who knows that another person is the lawful custodian of a child may:

(1) Abduct, take, or carry away a child with the intent to prevent a lawful custodian from exercising rights to custody of the child;

(2) Abduct, take, or carry away a child from a person with whom the relative has joint custody pursuant to an order, judgment, or decree of any court, with the intent to prevent a lawful custodian from exercising rights to custody to the child;

(3) Having obtained actual physical control of a child for a limited period of time in the exercise of the right to visit with or to be visited by the child or the right of limited custody of the child, pursuant to an order, judgment, or decree of any court, which grants custody of the child to another or jointly with the relative, with intent to harbor, secrete, detain, or conceal the child or to deprive a lawful custodian of the physical custody of the child, keep the child for more than 48 hours after a lawful custodian demands that the child be returned or makes all reasonable efforts to communicate a demand for the child’s return;

(4) Having custody of a child pursuant to an order, judgment, or decree of any court, which grants another person limited rights to custody of the child or the right to visit with or to be visited by the child, conceal, harbor, secrete, or detain the child with intent to deprive the other person of the right of limited custody or visitation;

(5) Conceal, harbor, secrete, or detain the child knowing that physical custody of the child was obtained or retained by another in violation of this subsection with the intent to prevent a lawful custodian from exercising rights to custody to the child;

(6) Act as an aider and abettor, conspirator, or accessory to any of the actions forbidden by this section;

(7) After being served with process in an action affecting the family but prior to the issuance of a temporary or final order determining custody rights to a child, take or entice the child outside of the District for the purpose of depriving a lawful custodian of physical custody of the child; or

(8) After issuance of a temporary or final order specifying joint custody rights, take or entice a child from the other joint custodian in violation of the custody order.


(May 23, 1986, D.C. Law 6-115, § 3, 33 DCR 2424; May 10, 1989, D.C. Law 7-231, § 25(c), 36 DCR 492.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 16-1022.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 16-1023, § 16-1024, and § 23-563.


§ 16–1023. Defense to prosecution; continuous offenses; expenses; jurisdiction.

(a) No person violates this subchapter if the action:

(1) Is taken to protect the child from imminent physical harm;

(2) Is taken by a parent fleeing from imminent physical harm to the parent;

(3) Is consented to by the other parent; or

(4) Is otherwise authorized by law.

(b) If a person violates § 16-1022 of this subchapter, the person may file a petition in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia that:

(1) States that at the time the act was done, a failure to do the act would have resulted in a clear and present danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the child; and

(2) Seeks to establish custody, to transfer custody, or to revise or to clarify the existing custody order; except that if the Superior Court of the District of Columbia does not have jurisdiction over the custody issue, the person shall seek to establish, transfer, revise, or clarify custody in a court of competent jurisdiction.

(c) If a petition is filed as provided in subsection (b) of this section within 5 days of the action taken, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, a finding by the court that, at the time the act was done, a failure to do the act would have resulted in a clear and present danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the child is a complete defense to prosecution under this subchapter.

(d) A law enforcement officer may take a child into protective custody if it reasonably appears to the officer that any person is in violation of this subchapter and unlawfully will flee the District with the child.

(e) A child who has been detained or concealed shall be returned by a law enforcement officer to the lawful custodian or placed in the custody of another entity authorized by law.

(f) The offenses prohibited by this subchapter are continuous in nature and continue for so long as the child is concealed, harbored, secreted, detained, or otherwise unlawfully physically removed from the lawful custodian.

(g) Any expenses incurred by the District in returning the child shall be reimbursed to the District by any person convicted of a violation of this subchapter. Those expenses and costs reasonably incurred by the lawful custodian and child victim as a result of a violation of this subchapter shall be assessed by the court against any person convicted of the violation.

(h) Any violation of this subchapter is punishable in the District, whether the intent to commit the offense is formed within or without the District, if the child was a resident of the District, present in the District at the time of the taking, or is later found in the District.


(May 23, 1986, D.C. Law 6-115, § 4, 33 DCR 2424; May 10, 1989, D.C. Law 7-231, § 25(d), 36 DCR 492.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 16-1023.


§ 16–1024. Penalties.

(a) A person who violates any provision of § 16-1022 and who takes the child to a place within the District, or detains or conceals the child within the District of Columbia is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to fine not exceeding $250 or performance of community service not exceeding 240 hours, or both.

(b) A person who violates any provision of § 16-1022 and who takes the child to a place outside the District or detains or conceals the child outside the District shall be punished as follows:

(1) If the child is out of the custody of the lawful custodian for not more than 30 days, the person is guilty of a felony and on conviction is subject to a fine not more than the amount set forth in [§ 22-3571.01] or imprisonment for 6 months, or both, except that if the person releases the child without injury in a safe place prior to arrest, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $250, or performance of community service not exceeding 240 hours, or imprisonment not exceeding 30 days, or a combination of all three.

(2) If the child is out of the custody of the lawful custodian for more than 30 days, the person is guilty of a felony and on conviction is subject to a fine of not more than the amount set forth in [§ 22-3571.01] or imprisonment for 1 year, or both, except that if the person releases the child without injury in a safe place prior to arrest, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor and, on conviction, is subject to a fine not more than the amount set forth in [§ 22-3571.01] or imprisonment not exceeding 60 days, or both.


(May 23, 1986, D.C. Law 6-115, § 5, 33 DCR 2424; May 10, 1989, D.C. Law 7-231, § 25(e), 36 DCR 492; June 11, 2013, D.C. Law 19-317, § 281(b), 60 DCR 2064.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 16-1024.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 23-563.

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-317 substituted “not more than the amount set forth in [§ 22-3571.01]” for “not exceeding $1,000” in (b)(1); and in (b)(2), substituted “of not more than the amount set forth in [§ 22-3571.01]” for “not exceeding $5,000”, and substituted “not more than the amount set forth in [§ 22-3571.01]” for “not exceeding $500”.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 281(b) of the Criminal Fine Proportionality Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-45, April 1, 2013, 60 DCR 5400, 20 DCSTAT 1300).

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 19-317: Section 401 of D.C. Law 19-317 provided that the act shall apply only to offenses committed on or after June 11, 2013.


§ 16–1025. Prosecution by Attorney General.

Prosecutions under this subchapter shall be brought in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia in name of the District by the Corporation Counsel.


(May 23, 1986, D.C. Law 6-115, § 6, 33 DCR 2424; May 10, 1989, D.C. Law 7-231, § 25(f), 36 DCR 492.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 16-1025.


§ 16–1026. Expungement.

Any parent convicted in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia of violating any provision of this subchapter with respect to his or her child may apply to the court for an order to expunge from all official records all records relating to the conviction at such time that the parent’s youngest child has reached the age of 18 years, provided that the parent has no more than 1 conviction for a violation of this subchapter at the time that the application for expungement is made. Any other person convicted of violating the provisions of this subchapter may apply to the court for an order to expunge all records relating to the conviction 5 years after the conviction, or at such time as the child has reached the age of 18 years, whichever shall later occur, provided that the person has no more than 1 conviction for violating any provision of this subchapter at the time that the application for expungement is made.


(May 23, 1986, D.C. Law 6-115, § 7, 33 DCR 2424; May 10, 1989, D.C. Law 7-231, § 25(g), 36 DCR 492.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 16-1026.


Subchapter III. Domestic Violence.

§ 16–1031. Arrests.

(a) A law enforcement officer shall arrest a person if the law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that the person:

(1) Committed an intrafamily offense that resulted in physical injury, including physical pain or illness, regardless of whether or not the intrafamily offense was committed in the presence of the law enforcement officer; or

(2) Committed an intrafamily offense that caused or was intended to cause reasonable fear of imminent serious physical injury or death.

(b) The law enforcement officer shall present the person arrested under subsection (a) of this section to the United States Attorney for charging.

(c)(1) Notwithstanding subsections (a) and (b) of this section, a law enforcement officer shall not be required to arrest a person who is under 18 years of age when there is probable cause to believe that the person has committed an intrafamily offense that does not constitute intimate partner violence.

(2) If a person is not arrested under paragraph (1) of this section, the person shall be diverted to a program that provides behavioral health and community support services.


(Apr. 30, 1991, D.C. Law 8-261, § 2(c)(2), 37 DCR 5001; Mar. 25, 2009, D.C. Law 17-368, § 4(g), 56 DCR 1338; Apr. 4, 2017, D.C. Law 21-238, § 102(a), 63 DCR 15312.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 16-1031.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 23-581.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 17-368, in subsec. (b), deleted “under section 16-1002” following “charging”.

Cross References

Arrests without warrant by law enforcement officers, see § 23-581.


§ 16–1032. Records.

Any law enforcement officer who investigates an intrafamily offense shall file a written report of the incident with the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police force (“Police force”), including the law enforcement officer’s disposition of the case. The Police force shall maintain the written report.


(Apr. 30, 1991, D.C. Law 8-261, § 2(c)(2), 37 DCR 5001.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 16-1032.


§ 16–1033. Civil liability.

A law enforcement officer shall not be civilly liable solely because he or she makes an arrest in good faith and without malice pursuant to this subchapter.


(Apr. 30, 1991, D.C. Law 8-261, § 2(c)(2), 37 DCR 5001.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 16-1033.


§ 16–1034. Training program.

(a) The Police force shall incorporate in its educational program for new law enforcement officers training in:

(1) The nature, dimension, and causes of intrafamily offenses;

(2) The legal rights and remedies available to a victim or perpetrator of an intrafamily offense;

(3) The services and facilities available to a victim or perpetrator of an intrafamily offense;

(4) The legal duties imposed on a police officer to enforce the provisions of this subchapter and to offer protection and assistance to a victim of an intrafamily offense; and

(5) Techniques for handling an intrafamily offense that minimize the likelihood of injury to the officer and promote the safety of the victim.

(b) The training shall stress the importance of enforcing the law against intrafamily offenses. The Police force may:

(1) Utilize the resources of any law enforcement agency or community organization; and

(2) Invite any community organization that provides counselling or assistance to victims of intrafamily offenses to help in planning and presenting the training program.

(c) At least 20 hours of basic training in responding to an intrafamily offense shall be required of any new law enforcement officer prior to the law enforcement officer’s permanent appointment.

(d) Any currently employed law enforcement officer shall be required to participate in an 8-hour course designed to familiarize the law enforcement officer with the dynamics of intrafamily offenses.


(Apr. 30, 1991, D.C. Law 8-261, § 2(c)(2), 37 DCR 5001.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 16-1034.


Subchapter IV. Interstate Enforcement of Domestic Violence Protection; Uniform Law.

§ 16–1041. Definitions.

For purposes of this subchapter, the term:

(1) “District” means the District of Columbia.

(2) “Foreign protection order” means a protection order issued by a tribunal of another State.

(3) “Issuing State” means the State whose tribunal issues a protection order.

(4) “Mutual foreign protection order” means a foreign protection order that includes provisions in favor of both the protected individual seeking enforcement of the order and the respondent.

(5) “Protected individual” means an individual protected by a protection order.

(6) “Protection order” means an injunction or other order, whether temporary or final, issued by a tribunal for the purpose of preventing violent or threatening acts or harassment against, contact or communication with, or physical proximity to, another individual.

(7) “Respondent” means the individual against whom enforcement of a protection order is sought.

(8) “State” means a State of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. The term “State” includes an Indian tribe or band that has jurisdiction to issue protection orders.

(9) “Tribunal” means a court, agency, or other entity authorized by law to issue or modify a protection order.


(Apr. 11, 2003, D.C. Law 14-296, § 2(c), 50 DCR 320.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-2502.03.

Editor's Notes

Uniform Law: This section is based upon § 2 of the Uniform Interstate Enforcement of Domestic Violence Protection Orders Act.


§ 16–1042. Judicial enforcement of order.

(a) A person authorized by the law of the District to seek enforcement of a protection order may seek enforcement of a valid foreign protection order in a tribunal of the District. The tribunal shall enforce the terms of the order, including terms that provide relief that a tribunal of the District would lack power to provide but for this section. The tribunal shall enforce the order, whether the order was obtained by independent action or in another proceeding, if it is an order issued in response to a complaint, petition, or motion filed by or on behalf of or for the benefit of an individual seeking protection. In a proceeding to enforce a foreign protection order, the tribunal shall follow the procedures of the District for the enforcement of protection orders.

(b) Except for cases brought under § 16-1005(f) or (g), a tribunal of the District may not enforce a foreign protection order issued by a tribunal of a State that does not recognize the standing of a protected individual to seek enforcement of the order.

(c) A tribunal of the District shall enforce the provisions of a valid foreign protection order that governs custody and visitation, if the order was issued in accordance with the jurisdictional requirements governing the issuance of custody and visitation orders in the issuing State.

(d) A foreign protection order is valid if it:

(1) Identifies the protected individual and the respondent;

(2) Is currently in effect or was in effect at the time of the violation;

(3) Was issued by a tribunal that had jurisdiction over the parties and subject matter under the law of the issuing State; and

(4) Was issued after the respondent was given reasonable notice and had an opportunity to be heard before the tribunal issued the order or, in the case of an ex parte order, the respondent was given notice and has had or will have an opportunity to be heard within a reasonable time after the order was issued, in a manner consistent with the rights of the respondent to due process.

(e) A foreign protection order valid on its face is prima facie evidence of its validity.

(f) Absence of any of the criteria for validity of a foreign protection order is an affirmative defense in an action seeking enforcement of the order.

(g) A tribunal of the District may enforce provisions of a mutual foreign protection order which favor a respondent only if:

(1) The respondent filed a written pleading seeking a protection order from the tribunal of the issuing State; and

(2) The tribunal of the issuing State made specific findings in favor of the respondent.


(Apr. 11, 2003, D.C. Law 14-296, § 2(c), 50 DCR 320.)

Editor's Notes

Uniform Law: This section is based upon § 3 of the Uniform Interstate Enforcement of Domestic Violence Protection Orders Act.


§ 16–1043. Nonjudicial enforcement of order.

(a) A law enforcement officer, upon determining that there is probable cause to believe that a valid foreign protection order exists and that the order has been violated, shall enforce the order as if it were the order of a tribunal of the District. Presentation of a protection order that identifies both the protected individual and the respondent and, on its face, is currently in effect constitutes probable cause to believe that a valid foreign protection order exists. For the purposes of this section, the protection order may be inscribed on a tangible medium or may have been stored in an electronic or other medium if it is retrievable in perceivable form. Presentation of a certified copy of a protection order is not required for enforcement.

(b) If a foreign protection order is not presented, a law enforcement officer may consider other information in determining whether there is probable cause to believe that a valid foreign protection order exists.

(c) Registration or filing of an order in the District is not required for the enforcement of a valid foreign protection order pursuant to this subchapter.


(Apr. 11, 2003, D.C. Law 14-296, § 2(c), 50 DCR 320.)

Editor's Notes

Uniform Law: This section is based upon § 4 of the Uniform Interstate Enforcement of Domestic Violence Protection Orders Act.


§ 16–1044. Registration of order.

(a) The Superior Court of the District of Columbia is authorized, subject to appropriations, to create a registry in the District of Columbia for foreign protection orders and protection orders issued in the District of Columbia.

(b) Any individual may register a foreign protection order in the District. To register a foreign protection order, an individual shall:

(1) Present a certified copy of the order to the Superior Court; and

(2) File an affidavit by the protected individual stating that, to the best of the protected individual’s knowledge, the order is currently in effect.

(c) When a registry is created pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, upon receipt of a foreign protection order, the Superior Court shall register the order in accordance with this section. After the order is registered, the Superior Court shall furnish to the individual registering the order a certified copy of the registered order. The Superior Court shall not notify or require notification of the respondent that the protection order has been registered in the District unless requested to do so by the party protected by the order.

(d) The Superior Court shall register an order upon presentation of a copy of a protection order that has been certified by the issuing State. A registered foreign protection order that is inaccurate or is not currently in effect shall be corrected or removed from the registry in accordance with the law of the District.

(e) A foreign protection order registered under this subchapter may be entered in any existing state or federal registry of protection orders, in accordance with applicable law.

(f) A fee may not be charged for the registration of a foreign protection order, nor may a fee be charged for service of a foreign order in the District of Columbia.


(Apr. 11, 2003, D.C. Law 14-296, § 2(c), 50 DCR 320.)

Editor's Notes

Uniform Law: This section is based upon § 5 of the Uniform Interstate Enforcement of Domestic Violence Protection Orders Act.


§ 16–1045. Immunity.

The District and its officers and employees, a law enforcement officer, prosecuting attorney, clerk of court, or any state or local governmental official acting in an official capacity, is immune from civil and criminal liability for conduct arising out of the registration or enforcement of a foreign protection order or the detention or arrest of an alleged violator of a foreign protection order if the conduct was done in good faith in an effort to comply with this subchapter.


(Apr. 11, 2003, D.C. Law 14-296, § 2(c), 50 DCR 320.)

Editor's Notes

Uniform Law: This section is based upon § 6 of the Uniform Interstate Enforcement of Domestic Violence Protection Orders Act.


§ 16–1046. Other remedies.

A protected individual who pursues remedies under this subchapter is not precluded from pursuing other legal or equitable remedies against the respondent.


(Apr. 11, 2003, D.C. Law 14-296, § 2(c), 50 DCR 320.)

Editor's Notes

Uniform Law: This section is based upon § 7 of the Uniform Interstate Enforcement of Domestic Violence Protection Orders Act.


§ 16–1047. Uniformity of application and construction.

In applying and construing this Uniform Act, consideration must be given to the need to promote uniformity of the law with respect to its subject matter among States that enact it.


(Apr. 11, 2003, D.C. Law 14-296, § 2(c), 50 DCR 320.)

Editor's Notes

Uniform Law: This section is based upon § 8 of the Uniform Interstate Enforcement of Domestic Violence Protection Orders Act.


§ 16–1048. Transitional provision.

This subchapter applies to protection orders issued before the effective date of this subchapter and to continuing actions for enforcement of foreign protection orders commenced before the effective date of this subchapter. A request for enforcement of a foreign protection order made on or after the effective date of this subchapter for violations of a foreign protection order occurring before the effective date of this subchapter is governed by this subchapter.


(Apr. 11, 2003, D.C. Law 14-296, § 2(c), 50 DCR 320.)

References in Text

The “effective date of this subchapter”, referred to in text, is April 11, 2003, which is the effective date of D.C. Law 14-296.

Editor's Notes

Uniform Law: This section is based upon § 11 of the Uniform Interstate Enforcement of Domestic Violence Protection Orders Act.


Subchapter V. Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board.

§ 16–1051. Definitions.

For purposes of this subchapter, the term:

(1) “Board” means the Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board.

(2) “District” means the District of Columbia.

(3) “Domestic violence fatality” means:

(A) A homicide under any of the following circumstances:

(i) The alleged perpetrator and victim resided together at any time;

(ii) The alleged perpetrator and victim have a child in common;

(iii) The alleged perpetrator and victim were married, divorced, separated, or had a romantic relationship, not necessarily including a sexual relationship;

(iv) The alleged perpetrator is or was married to, divorced, or separated from, or in a romantic relationship, not necessarily including a sexual relationship, with a person who is or was married to, divorced, or separated from, or in a romantic relationship, not necessarily including a sexual relationship, with the victim;

(v) The alleged perpetrator had been stalking the victim;

(vi) The victim filed a petition for a protective order against the alleged perpetrator at any time;

(vii) The victim resided in the same household, was present at the workplace of, was in proximity of, or was related by blood or affinity to a person who experienced or was threatened with domestic violence by the alleged perpetrator; or

(viii) The victim or the perpetrator was or is a child, parent, sibling, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or cousin of a person in a relationship that is described within this subsection.

(B) A suicide of an individual where there were implications that the individual was the victim of domestic violence prior to his or her suicide, including the following circumstances:

(i) The victim had applied for or received a protection order within the 2-year period preceding the suicide;

(ii) The victim had undergone counseling or treatment as a result of being the victim of domestic violence within the 2-year period preceding the suicide; or

(iii) The victim had reported to the police that he or she had been the victim of domestic violence within the 2-year period preceding the suicide.

(4) “Protection order” means an injunction or other order, whether temporary or final, issued by a tribunal for the purpose of preventing violent or threatening acts or harassment against, contact or communication with, or physical proximity to, another individual.


(Apr. 11, 2003, D.C. Law 14-296, § 2(c), 50 DCR 320.)


§ 16–1052. Establishment and purpose.

(a) There is established, as part of the District of Columbia government, a Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board. Facilities and other administrative support may be provided in a specific department or through the Board, as determined by the Mayor.

(b) The purpose of the Board is to prevent domestic violence fatalities by improving the response of individuals, the community, and government agencies to domestic violence.

(c) The Board shall:

(1) Identify and characterize the scope and nature of domestic violence fatalities in the District of Columbia;

(2) Describe and record any trends, data, or patterns that are observed surrounding domestic violence fatalities;

(3) Examine past events and circumstances surrounding domestic violence fatalities by reviewing records and other pertinent documents of public and private agencies responsible for investigating deaths or treating victims;

(4) Develop and revise, as necessary, operating rules and procedures for review of domestic violence fatalities, including identification of cases to be reviewed, coordination among the agencies and professionals involved, and improvement of the identification, data collection, and record keeping of the causes of domestic violence fatalities;

(5) Recommend systemic improvements to promote improved and integrated public and private systems serving victims of domestic violence;

(6) Recommend components for prevention and education programs; and

(7) Recommend training to improve the identification and investigation of domestic violence fatalities.

(d) The Board shall prepare an annual report of findings, recommendations, and steps taken to implement recommendations. The report shall not contain information identifying any victim of domestic violence, or the victim’s family members, or an alleged or suspected perpetrator of abuse upon a victim. The annual report shall be submitted to the public, the Mayor, and the Council on July 1 of each year, and shall be presented to the Council at a public hearing.


(Apr. 11, 2003, D.C. Law 14-296, § 2(c), 50 DCR 320.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(a) of Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board Emergency Act of 2010 (D.C. Act 18-366, April 5, 2010, 57 DCR 3168).


§ 16–1053. Composition of the Board; procedural requirements.

(a) The Mayor shall appoint one representative from each of the following District agencies:

(1) Metropolitan Police Department;

(2) Office of the Chief Medical Examiner;

(3) Office of the Attorney General;

(4) Department of Corrections;

(5) Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department;

(6) Department of Behavioral Health;

(7) Department of Health;

(8) Child and Family Services Agency; and

(9) Mayor’s Commission on Violence Against Women.

(b) The Mayor shall appoint, or request the designation of, members from federal, judicial, and private agencies or entities with expertise in domestic violence, to include one representative from each of the following:

(1) Superior Court of the District of Columbia;

(2) Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia;

(3) District of Columbia hospitals;

(4) University legal clinics;

(5) Domestic violence shelters; and

(6) Domestic violence advocacy organizations.

(c) The Mayor shall additionally appoint 8 community representatives, none of whom shall be employees of the District, in accordance with [§ 1-523.01(f)].

(d) Governmental appointees shall serve at the will of the Mayor, or of the federal or judicial body designating their availability for appointment. Community representatives shall serve for 3-year terms.

(e) Vacancies in membership shall be filled in the same manner in which the original appointment was made.

(f) The Board shall select a Chairperson according to rules set forth by the Board.

(g) The Board shall establish quorum and other procedural requirements as it considers necessary.


(Apr. 11, 2003, D.C. Law 14-296, § 2(c), 50 DCR 320; Mar. 13, 2004, D.C. Law 15-105, § 54(a), 51 DCR 881; Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-168, § 3052(b), 65 DCR 9388; May 10, 2019, D.C. Law 22-313, § 13, 66 DCR 1627.)

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-105, in the section name line, validated a previously made technical correction.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3052(b) of Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-458, Oct. 3, 2018, 65 DCR 11212).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3052(b) of Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-434, July 30, 2018, 65 DCR 8200).


§ 16–1054. Access to information.

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, immediately upon the request of the Board and as necessary to carry out the Board’s purpose and duties, the Board shall be provided, without cost and without authorization of the persons to whom the information or records relate, access to:

(1) All information and records of any District of Columbia agency, or their contractors, including, but not limited to, birth and death certificates, law enforcement investigation data, unexpurgated juvenile and adult criminal records, intellectual and developmental disabilities records, autopsy reports, parole and probation information and records, school records, and information records of social services, housing, and health agencies that provided services to the victim, the victim’s family, or an alleged perpetrator of domestic violence which led to the death of the victim;

(2) All information and records of any private health-care providers located in the District of Columbia, including providers of mental health services who provided services to the deceased victim, the deceased victim’s family, or the alleged perpetrator of domestic violence which led to the death of the victim;

(3) All information and records of any private child welfare agency, educational facility or institution, or child care provider doing business in the District of Columbia who provided services to the victim, the victim’s immediate family, or the alleged perpetrator of domestic violence which led to the death of the victim; and

(4) Information made confidential by §§ 4-1302.03, 4-1303.06, [§ 7-231.24], 7-1203.02, 7-1305.12, 16-2331, 16-2332, 16-2333, 16-2335, and 31-3426.

(b) The Board shall have the authority to seek information from entities and agencies outside the District of Columbia by any legal means.

(c) Notwithstanding subsection (a)(1) of this section, information and records concerning a current law enforcement investigation may be withheld, at the discretion of the investigating authority, if disclosure of the information would compromise a criminal investigation or prosecution.

(d) If information or records are withheld under subsection (c) of this section, a report on the status of the investigation shall be submitted to the Board by the investigating authority every 3 months until the earliest of the following events occurs:

(1) The investigation is concluded;

(2) The investigating authority determines that providing the information will no longer compromise the investigation; or

(3) The information or records are provided to the Board.

(e) All records and information obtained by the Board pursuant to subsections (a) and (b) of this section pertaining to the deceased victim or any other individual shall be destroyed immediately following the preparation of the Board’s annual report. All additional information concerning a review, except statistical data, shall be destroyed by the Board one year after publication of the Board’s annual report.


(Apr. 11, 2003, D.C. Law 14-296, § 2(c), 50 DCR 320; Mar. 13, 2004, D.C. Law 15-105, § 10(b), 51 DCR 881; Sept. 26, 2012, D.C. Law 19-169, § 20(a), 59 DCR 5567; Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-164, § 203(c), 65 DCR 9324.)

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-105, in subsec. (a)(4), validated a previously made technical correction.

The 2012 amendment by D.C. Law 19-169 substituted “intellectual” for “mental retardation” in (a)(1).

Editor's Notes

Section 35 of D.C. Law 19-169 provided that no provision of the act shall impair any right or obligation existing under law.


§ 16–1055. Subpoena power.

(a) When necessary for the discharge of its duties, the Board shall have the authority to issue subpoenas to compel witnesses to appear and testify and to produce books, papers, correspondence, memoranda, documents, or other relevant records.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, subpoenas hall be served personally upon the witness or his or her designated agent, not less than 5 business days before the date the witness must appear or the documents must be produced, by one of the following methods, which may be attempted concurrently or successively:

(1) By a special process server, at least 18 years of age, designated by the Board from among the staff of the Board or any of the offices or organizations represented on the Board; provided, that the special process server is not directly involved in the investigation; or

(2) By a special process server, at least 18 years of age, engaged by the Board.

(c) If, after a reasonable attempt, personal service on a witness or witness’ agent cannot be obtained, a special process server identified in subsection (b) of this section may serve a subpoena by registered or certified mail not less than 8 business days before the date the witness must appear or the documents must be produced.

(d) If a witness who has been personally summoned neglects or refuses to obey the subpoena issued pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, the Board may report that fact to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and the court may compel obedience to the subpoena to the same extent as witnesses may be compelled to obey the subpoenas of the court.


(Apr. 11, 2003, D.C. Law 14-296, § 2(c), 50 DCR 320.)


§ 16–1056. Confidentiality of information and proceedings; penalty for unlawful disclosure of information.

(a) Except as provided in this section, information and records obtained or created by the Board are confidential and not subject to civil discovery or to disclosure pursuant to subchapter II of Chapter 5 of Title 2.

(b) Information and records presented to the Board for review shall not be immune from subpoena, discovery, or prohibited from being introduced into evidence solely because they were presented to or reviewed by the Board if the information and records have been obtained through other sources.

(c) Information required to be reported under §§ 4-1321.02 and 4-1321.03 shall be disclosed by the Board to the Child and Family Services Agency.

(d) An individual who appears before or participates in the Board’s review of domestic violence cases shall sign a confidentiality agreement acknowledging that any information provided to the Board is confidential.

(e) Board meetings are closed to the public and are not subject to § 1-207.42.

(f) Information identifying a victim of domestic violence or that person’s family members, or an alleged perpetrator of abuse upon the victim, shall not be disclosed in any report that is available to the public.

(g)(1) Whoever discloses, receives, makes use of, or knowingly permits the use of information concerning a victim or other person in violation of this section shall be subject to a fine of not more than $1,000.

(2) Violations of this section shall be prosecuted by the Office of the Corporation Counsel in the name of the District of Columbia.

(3) Subject to appropriation for this purpose, any fines collected pursuant to this section shall be used by the Board to fund its activities.


(Apr. 11, 2003, D.C. Law 14-296, § 2(c), 50 DCR 320.)


§ 16–1057. Immunity.

(a) Any health-care provider or any other person or institution providing information to the Board pursuant to this subchapter shall have immunity from liability, administrative, civil, or criminal, that might otherwise be incurred or imposed with respect to the disclosure of information.

(b) If acting in good faith, without malice, and within the parameters of the protocols established by this subchapter, representatives of the Board are immune from civil liability for an activity related to reviews of domestic violence fatalities.


(Apr. 11, 2003, D.C. Law 14-296, § 2(c), 50 DCR 320.)


§ 16–1058. Rules.

The Mayor shall issue rules implementing the provisions of this subchapter. The rules shall require that a subordinate agency director to whom a recommendation is directed by the Board shall respond in writing within 30 days of the issuance of the report containing the recommendations.


(Apr. 11, 2003, D.C. Law 14-296, § 2(c), 50 DCR 320.)


§ 16–1059. Sunset. [Repealed]

Repealed.


(Apr. 11, 2003, D.C. Law 14-296, § 2(c), 50 DCR 320; Sept. 24, 2010, D.C. Law 18-223, § 3032, 57 DCR 6242.)

Cross References

Superior Court of the District of Columbia, jurisdiction, see § 11-921.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) repeal of section, see § 2(b) of Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board Emergency Act of 2010 (D.C. Act 18-366, April 5, 2010, 57 DCR 3168).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 1402 of Fiscal Year 2010 Balanced Budget Support Emergency Act of 2010 (D.C. Act 18-450, June 28, 2010, 57 DCR 5635).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 1402 of Fiscal Year 2010 Balanced Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2010 (D.C. Act 18-531, August 6, 2010, 57 DCR 8109).

For temporary (90 day) repeal of section, see § 3032 of Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2010 (D.C. Act 18-463, July 2, 2010, 57 DCR 6542).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 1402 of the Fiscal Year 2010 Balanced Budget Support Temporary Act of 2010 (D.C. Law 18-222, September 24, 2010, law notification 57 DCR 9859).

Short Title

Short title: Section 3031 of D.C. Law 18-223 provided that subtitle D of title III of the act may be cited as the “Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board Act of 2010”.