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Virginia’s Anti-Bullying Initiative


Tips and Resources for Parents

Tips and Resources for Kids

Bullying - Is Bullying a Problem?

According to the Virginia Department of Education’s 2009 Annual Report, there were 15,313 incidents against students, (an incident where the student is the target) and of that over 42 percent were bullying.  This number reflects an increase over previous years.  In addition, the biannual study of the “Ethics of American Youth Report” by the Josephson Institute of Ethics shows that half of all high school students say they were bullies in the past year.

With the increased availability of technology, kids today are devoting over seven hours per day to their e-media outlets (internet, phones, etc.).  This allows kids to be a target for cyberbullying, and unlike at school, where they can leave and seek refuge at home, the internet and cell phones are always around.  Psychology professor Andre Sourander Click here to go to article on Kaiser Family Foundation website.noted, “With cyberbullying, victims are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  There is no time when messages cannot be left on mobile telephones or sent via e-mail.”  In a recent Click here to go to survey of 13-18 year-olds, Cox Communications reported that 15 percent had been cyberbullied online, 10 percent via cell phone, seven percent had cyberbullied someone else online, and five percent had bullied another via cell phone. 

Perhaps the most shocking statistic is that approximately one-third of students report this behavior to teachers or adults.

The effects of bullying are much deeper than superficial scares, or hurtful text messages, the Mayo Clinic reports that bullying can worsen the mental health of teenagers, many of which already deal with stress on a daily basis.  Teens who are bullied are more likely to report thoughts of suicide and suicidal behavior, abuse drugs and alcohol, skip school, and carry a weapon to school.  Bullying also has long-term effects on its victims.  Adults who were bullied as children show a higher tendency for depression, anxiety, chronic headaches, and overall low self-esteem. 


Bullying Facts

Bullying: is intentional, repetitive, and can be physical, verbal, and/or emotional and includes electronic bullying, known as cyberbullying. 

Cyberbullying: is a new phenomenon that includes, electronically sending mean, vulgar, or threatening messages or images online posting of sensitive, private information about someone pretending to be someone else online in order to make that person look bad using photo shop tools to create harassing images publishing jokes about another person on the Internet using the Internet to entice a group to physically harm another person can be done using email, IM’s, text messages, blogs, etc.


Virginia Law holds Virginia students to a model practice, and allows the School Board to use disciplinary measures if a student violates the model practice; bullying is a violation.  (§ 18.2-60)


Certain behaviors associated with bullying can also result in punishment under Virginia Law, for example:

  • Threat is knowingly communicating a warning to kill or do bodily harm to someone.  This is punishable as a Class 6 felony and can result in up-to 5 years imprisonment.  (§ 18.2-60)

  • Extortion is knowingly obtaining, by threat, control over the property of another, with intent to deprive said person of the property.  This is a Class 5 felony and can result in up to 10 years imprisonment.  (§ 18.2-59)

  • An Assault is the attempt or offer, with force, to do bodily harm, while assault and battery is the actual infliction of bodily harm.  This crime is classified as either a Class 1 misdemeanor- 12 months imprisonment and/or $2500 fine, or a Class 6 felony (if the victim is intentionally selected based on race, religion, color or national origin), which can result in up to 5 years imprisonment.  (§18.2-57)

  • Hazing is the reckless or intentional endangerment of the health or safety of a student, or the infliction of a bodily injury on a student in connection with or for the purpose of an initiation, admission or affiliation with a club, organization, fraternity…regardless of whether the student voluntarily participated.  This crime is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which can result in 12 months in jail and/or $2500 fine.  (§18.2-56) 

  • Malicious wounding is the shooting, stabbing, cutting, wounding or causing a bodily injury, with the intent to maim, disfigure, disable or kill and is a Class 3 Felony that can result in 5 - 20 years and a fine up to $100,000.  (§ 18.2-51)

  • If such act is done unlawfully, not maliciously, then it is an unlawful wounding and is a Class 6 Felony that can result in 1-5 years; or 12 months in jail and/or $2500 fine.

  • Harassment by computer is the use of a computer - with the intent to coerce, intimidate, or harass - to communicate obscene, vulgar, profane, lewd, lascivious, or indecent language or make any suggestion or proposal of an obscene nature, or to threaten any illegal or immoral act.  This crime is a Class 1 misdemeanor and result in 12 months in jail and/or $2500 fine.  (§ 18.2-152.7:1)  







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Veterans Assistance and Resources

Veteran's memorial image

The Office of the Attorney General is dedicated to supporting Virginians who are serving and who have served our country.  There are 27 military bases in Virginia and approximately 1 of every 10 Virginia residents is a veteran (approximately 800,000).  These Service members and veterans contribute significantly to Virginia’s growing economy. 

Attorney General Herring is personally committed to supporting employment opportunities for veterans, Guard and Reserve.  On August 28, 2014, Attorney General Herring signed the ESGR Statement of Support pledging his support to Guard and Reserve employees.  Furthermore, at Attorney General Herring’s direction, the Office of the Attorney General became a member of the Virginia Values Veterans (V3) Program.  If you are interested in employment opportunities with the Attorney General, please contact Tonya Woodson, Director of Human Resources, at 804.786.2071 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the “Current Vacancies” section of our website to learn more about employment opportunities. 

Additionally, the Office of the Attorney General coordinates training opportunities for state agencies, localities, and businesses related to the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), as well as training on Virginia Code Title 44 as it relates to employment and reemployment rights.  If you are interested in receiving training regarding USERRA or Title 44, or interested in providing training to your employees, please contact the Attorney General at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Assistant Attorney General Jim Flaherty is the office’s designated lead on veterans’ issues.  AAG Flaherty is a veteran of the United States Navy.

Attorney General Herring is proud to announce the Office of the Attorney General’s very first pro bono veterans legal services clinic to help veterans create important legal documents including wills, powers of attorney and advanced medical directives. Below are the links to various resources that may be helpful to Service members, veterans, and their families. Get more information here.

Mental Health Resources

Veterans Crisis Line This organization provides confidential help for veterans and their Families.

National Center for PTSD

Veterans Benefits Assistance

Quick Guide to Veterans Benefits

US Department of Veterans Affairs

Assistance with obtaining veterans benefits can be obtained at DVS Benefit Offices located throughout Virginia.

Legal Services (free or reduced fee)

Lewis B. Puller, Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic – This clinic at William & Mary Law School provides assistance with disability compensation claims.

Mason Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic – This clinic at the George Mason University Law School offers free legal services to Service members and veterans in a wide variety of litigation and non-litigation matters.

Veterans Consortium - The Veterans Consortium provides assistance with federal veteran benefits appeals.

Virginia Bar Association Veterans Initiative - The Virginia Bar Association Veterans Initiative provides civil or criminal legal services for Service members (including Guard and Reserve), veterans and their families.

Other Resources for Veterans, Military Service Members and their Families

Virginia Department of Veterans Services

Virginia Department of Veterans Services - Virginia Veterans Resource Guide

Military OneSource

Department of Defense Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve

Virginia Business One Stop – Virginia Business One Stop provides assistance in starting a small business.

Virginia Veteran and Family Support





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Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking: image of a girl with her head against the wall.

"Human trafficking is an emerging public safety threat across our nation, including here in Virginia. Trafficked victims don't come from any one place. They come from large cities, small towns, different socioeconomic situations and diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds. As Attorney General, combating human trafficking will be a priority in my office and I will work with the General Assembly, law enforcement and prosecutors to eradicate it in Virginia." -Attorney General Mark R. Herring



human trafficking hotline 1-888-373-7888 7 days 24 hours