Assault and battery; adult allows child to be present during assault, guilty of Class 6 felony. (HB935)

Introduced By

Del. Rob Bell (R-Charlottesville)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Assault and battery against family or household member; penalty.  Makes it a Class 6 felony for an adult having a custodial relationship over a child under the age of 18 to knowingly allow the child to be present during the assault and battery of a family or household member. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/13/2010Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/13/10 10102331D
01/13/2010Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/14/2010Impact statement from VCSC (HB935)
02/16/2010Left in Courts of Justice


Laura G writes:

Wouldn't this criminalize a parent who is a victim of an assault if the child witnesses the assault? For example, a mother who is assaulted by her husband/partner/boyfriend in their house could be guilty under this amended statute. Even if the police might not choose to charge a parent in those circumstances, its existence might discourage victims from coming forward.

Sheila C. Haughey writes:

I am vehemently opposed to this bill. There is plenty of flexibility within the Class I misdemeanor sentencing range of zero to 12 months to account for aggravating factors such as committing a domestic assault and battery in front of a child. We do not need this to be a felony. It will result in many deals being made with people pleading guilty to misdemeanors when they are not guilty at all, simply because they don't want to risk being convicted of a felony, with the Draconian results Virginia (in a small minority of states) exacts. Keep this a misdemeanor.