Laws against dating violence

Sierra Landry was a 16-year-old cheerleader with good grades and aspirations of becoming a model when she began dating a schoolmate who would eventually end up harassing, beating and ultimately killing her, Sierra's stepmother, Jessica Landry, told CBS News' Crimesider.

But Sierra's death might have been prevented, says her stepmother, if Sierra had been able to get an order of protection against her ex-boyfriend - something the Landrys' home state of South Carolina prohibits.

In order to prove assault, the alleged victim must have a well-founded fear that violence is imminent.

If he or she does not take the threats seriously, or the respondent merely shouted or used obscene hand gestures, the court will not order an injunction.

Federally, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) offers additional resources for victims of domestic violence.

Find Law's Domestic Violence Laws sub-section includes state-specific links to domestic violence laws, related information and forms; an overview of the federal Violence Against Women Act; information about criminal stalking; and more.

The Violence Against Women Act Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994 and supplemented the bill in 1996 to create and fund programs to help protect victims of domestic violence.

The Act established a national domestic violence hotline, provided for confidentiality for the addresses of victims of domestic abuse, and changed the immigration laws to permit battered spouses to apply for permanent residency independent of their abusive spouses.

Nicklaus Haggerty Lefebvre, 18, and Jacob Glenn Houck, 17, both admitted they had sexual contact with the girl. The charges the two young men face mean registration for a lifetime on Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry.WATCH: 48 Hours: "Loved to Death" In South Carolina, an order of protection - which is stronger than a restraining order and imposes greater restrictions - cannot legally be obtained by a person who is only in a dating relationship.The state only allows protection orders against someone of the opposite sex to whom you are either married, have lived with, or have a child with - and who has physically or sexually abused you.That means that 54% of women who were raped were under the age of 18 at the time of their first rape.Furthermore, young women – between the ages of 16-24 are especially vulnerable to sexual assault by someone they know or are intimate with.