Definitions of Texas family violence and abuse expanded with new law

Effective September 1, 2015, the law pertaining to the definition of family violence has been expanded by the Texas Legislature. Now, the code prohibits family violence, including a person who applied for a protective order. The prior version of the law prohibited violence against the victim, but left a loophole for violence against a person who claimed to be a victim in an application for protective order but who may not, at that point, have been. Now the law includes both victims and those who apply for protective orders. The point of adding this language is to prevent retaliatory violence against a person who may apply for a protective order.

Further, the definition of abuse is expanded to include trafficking of people for prostitution, taking obscene photos or videos of a child, using drugs to cause physical, mental, or emotional injury to a child, or causing a child to use drugs. While most of these changes seem obvious and intuitive, it is interesting to wonder what actions in using drugs by a person would cause mental or emotional injury to a child.

See the language of the enrolled bill here.

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