The following are forms of sexual misconduct prohibited by D.C. law. 


Sexual Abuse (D.C. Code §22-3002 et seq.)

  1. First degree sexual abuse is defined as engaging in or causing another person to engage in or submit to a sexual act in the following manner:

(a) By using force against that other person;

(b) By threatening or placing that other person in reasonable fear that any person will be subjected to death, bodily injury, or kidnapping;

(c) After rendering that other person unconscious; or

(d) After administering to that other person by force or threat of force, or without the knowledge or permission of that other person, a drug, intoxicant, or other similar substance that substantially impairs the ability of that other person to appraise or control his or her conduct.

  1. Second degree sexual abuse is defined as engaging in or causing another person to engage in or submit to a sexual act in the following manner:

(a) By threatening or placing that other person in reasonable fear (other than by threatening or placing that other person in reasonable fear that any person will be subjected to death, bodily injury, or kidnapping); or

(b) Where the person knows or has reason to know that the other person is:

(i) Incapable of appraising the nature of the conduct;

(ii) Incapable of declining participation in that sexual act; or

(iii) Incapable of communicating unwillingness to engage in that sexual act.

  1. Third degree sexual abuse is defined as engaging in or causing sexual contact with or by another person in the following manner:

(a) By using force against that other person;

(b) By threatening or placing that other person in reasonable fear that any person will be subjected to death, bodily injury, or kidnapping;

(c) After rendering that person unconscious; or

(d) After administering to that person by force or threat of force, or without the knowledge or permission of that other person, a drug, intoxicant, or similar substance that substantially impairs the ability of that other person to appraise or control his or her conduct.

  1. Fourth degree sexual abuse is defined as engaging in or causing sexual contact with or by another person in the following manner:

(a) By threatening or placing that other person in reasonable fear (other than by threatening or placing that other person in reasonable fear that any person will be subjected to death, bodily injury, or kidnapping); or

(b) Where the person knows or has reason to know that the other person is:

(i) Incapable of appraising the nature of the conduct;

(ii) Incapable of declining participation in that sexual contact; or

(iii) Incapable of communicating unwillingness to engage in that sexual contact.

Domestic Violence (D.C. Code §16-1031)

Domestic Violence is an intrafamily offense that results in physical injury, including physical pain or illness or that caused or was intended to cause reasonable fear of imminent serious physical injury or death.

Dating Violence

Dating Violence is an offense against an intimate partner (romantic, dating, or sexual relationship) that results in physical injury, including physical pain or illness or that caused or was intended to cause reasonable fear of imminent serious physical injury or death.

Stalking (D.C. Code §22-3133)

Stalking is defined as engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific individual:

  1. With the intent to cause that individual to:

(a) Fear for his or her safety or the safety of another person;

(b) Feel seriously alarmed, disturbed, or frightened; or

(c) Suffer emotional distress;

  1. That the person knows would cause that individual reasonably to:

(a) Fear for his or her safety or the safety of another person;

(b) Feel seriously alarmed, disturbed, or frightened; or

(c) Suffer emotional distress; or

  1. That the person should have known would cause a reasonable person in the individual's circumstances to:

(a) Fear for his or her safety or the safety of another person;

(b) Feel seriously alarmed, disturbed, or frightened; or

(c) Suffer emotional distress.

Consent (D.C. Code §22-3001)

The D.C. Code defines consent as “words or overt actions indicating a freely given agreement to the sexual act or contact in question. Lack of verbal or physical resistance or submission by the victim, resulting from the use of force, threats, or coercion by the defendant shall not constitute consent." Consent must be voluntarily given and cannot be implied when a person is unable to give consent or does not explicitly verbalize consent.