Protecting Children of Domestic Violence Victims with Criminal No-Contact Orders

Prosecutors should understand the legal avenues for keeping children safe throughout the course of a domestic violence case and be prepared to avail themselves of social science research to support their legal arguments. Prosecutors may also need to determine whether they should bring additional charges, argue to increase bail or sentences based on aggravators, and/or file forfeiture by wrongdoing motions to address any ongoing intimidation and harassment by a defendant. This article provides an overview of the legal authority for including children in no-contact orders or for filing additional charges based on threat to their safety. It also provides social science research to support legal arguments to extend no-contact orders to the offender’s children, along with other prosecution strategies to protect children who may be at risk.