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Legal Information: General

State vs. Federal Law

State vs. Federal Law

Most of the laws that apply to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault come from state laws – for example, laws that deal with protection orders, divorce, custody, crimes, and more. We explain these laws in a “plain language” format in the following sections. If you want to read the actual language of the laws in your state, you can find many relevant laws on our Selected State Statutes page.

However, there are also federal laws – which apply to all states– that may be relevant for victims of abuse as well. For example, immigration remedies for undocumented immigrant victims, federal gun laws, and military protective orders come from federal laws. WomensLaw.org explains these federal laws in a “plain language” format in our Immigration, Federal Gun Laws, and Domestic Violence in the Military sections and you can find the actual language of the laws on our Selected Federal Statutes page.