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New Hampshire Domestic Violence Laws

Abuse that occurs between family or household members can be particularly egregious. As a result, New Hampshire has specific domestic violence laws in place to deter this kind of abuse. The table below briefly outlines New Hampshire's main domestic violence law.

Code Section

New Hampshire Revised Statutes section 173-B:1: Domestic Violence

What's Prohibited?

Domestic violence abuse is prohibited in New Hampshire. Abuse means the commission (or attempted commission) of one or more of the following acts by a family or household member or by a current or former sexual or intimate partner where such conduct is deemed to constitute a credible present threat to the victim's safety:
  • Assault or reckless conduct
  • Criminal threatening
  • Sexual assault
  • Interference with freedom
  • Destruction of property
  • Harassment, or
  • Cruelty to animals


The term "family or household member" means:
  • Spouses, former spouses, people cohabitating with each other, and people who previously cohabitated with each other but who no longer share the same residence, and
  • Parents and other people related by consanguinity of affinity (other than minor children who reside with the defendant)

Temporary Relief

If the victim (plaintiff) can show an "immediate and present danger of abuse," the court may enter a temporary protective order for the plaintiff. An order for temporary relief may:

  • Direct the defendant to relinquish all firearms or ammunition in their control or possession (for the duration of the protective order)
  • Restrain the defendant from abusing the plaintiff
  • Restrain the defendant from entering the plaintiff's home (except if accompanied by a peace officer in order to remove personal items)
  • Restrain the defendant from withholding or damaging the plaintiff's personal property
  • Award custody of minor children to either party (based on what is in the best interest of the children)
  • Deny the defendant visitation of the couple's children
  • Restrain the defendant from contacting or abusing the plaintiff, the plaintiff's relatives, or the plaintiff's household members, and
  • Grant the petitioner control of any animal owned by the petitioner, the defendant, or a minor child in either household

In situations where long-term protection is necessary, the court will grant additional protective orders. While these orders can't stop an abuser from hurting a victim again, they do allow the victim to call the police and have the abuser arrested if a provision of the protective order is violated.

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information regarding New Hampshire's domestic violence laws contact a local criminal defense lawyer.

If you are a domestic violence survivor there is help available to you. During an emergency dial 911, and when you're safe contact the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

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