RICHMOND, Va. – Delegate Chris Hurst (D-12) introduced legislation today to protect survivors of domestic and sexual violence from “strategic lawsuits against public participation,” also known as SLAPP suits.
House Bill 2111 ends the ability of abusers to initiate lawsuits alleging defamation and other wrongdoing by victims, with the intent of harming their victims in a costly and burdensome court case.
“Victims of domestic or sexual violence should not have to fear asking the courts for help because their abusers might file frivolous lawsuits against them,” said Jay Speer Executive Director of Virginia Poverty Law Center (VPLC). “Legal aid exists to support victims of domestic or sexual violence regardless of their ability to pay for legal representation.”
HB 2111 provides protection for a victim’s statements made in the course of judicial proceedings or communications related to criminal conduct, from a claim of defamation, abuse of process, malicious prosecution, or intentional infliction of emotional distress based on such statements.
“As a crime and courts reporter, I saw firsthand how victims and survivors can continue to be manipulated by their abusers in the court system. It is unacceptable that Virginia continues to let victims be haunted both emotionally and monetarily. HB 2111 will protect survivors as they try to heal and move forward.”
See the full text of HB 2111 here.