Domestic Violence in California: What to Do First

In 2019, more than 161,000 domestic violence-related calls for assistance were made in California by people frightened by the physical, sexual, or emotional abuse inflicted by a family member or loved one. But removing themself from the situation is not easy, emotionally, physically, or financially. Those who can find the courage to stand up to their abuser can use the law to help protect themselves while they transition to a life free of domestic violence.

At The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer, we help victims of domestic violence find safe harbors from domestic violence. We’ve used our experience to make a difference in the lives of clients in San Jose and Morgan Hill, California, and surrounding communities for more than 20 years.

WHAT IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN CALIFORNIA?

Under California’s Domestic Violence Prevention Act, “abuse” means:

  1. To intentionally or recklessly cause or attempt to cause bodily injury
  2. Sexual assault
  3. To make a person reasonably afraid that they are or someone else will be inflicted with serious bodily injury 
  4. To engage in any behavior that has been or could be enjoined, including molesting, attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, sexually assaulting, battering, harassing, disturbing your peace, or destroying your property.

TAKE ACTION

If you are the victim of domestic abuse, take action immediately to protect yourself and others.

  1. Call the police.
  2. Get to safety by going to a law enforcement office, hotel, or the home of a family member or friend. Don’t let the abuser know where you are.
  3. Ask law enforcement to obtain an emergency protective order from a judge. The order prohibits your abuser from having any contact with you for seven days, giving you time to take the next steps.
  4. Hire an experienced attorney to represent you.
  5. Communicate with your employer if you need to advise them of any work absence related to domestic violence or restraining order.
  6. Have your attorney help you file for a domestic violence restraining order. 

RESTRAINING ORDERS

There are several types of restraining orders. To obtain a domestic violence restraining order you must have been abused or threatened to be abused AND have a close relationship with that person, which includes someone you are or were married to, partnered with, dated, or lived with as more than roommates, and those closely related to you or with whom you share a child. You can also file for a restraining order on behalf of minor children.

Other types of restraining orders for other types of relationships include civil harassment restraining orders, elder or dependent adult abuse restraining orders, and workplace violence restraining orders.

Restraining orders can order the restrained person to:

  • Not contact or go near you, your children, and others close to you at home, work, or school;
  • Move out of your house;
  • Not have a gun;
  • Follow child custody and visitation orders and pay child support;
  • Pay spousal or domestic support and certain bills;
  • Stay away from your pets;
  • Transfer the rights to a cell phone number and account to you;
  • Not make changes to insurance policies;
  • Not incur large expenses or do anything significant to affect the property;
  • Release or return certain property; and
  • Complete a batterer intervention program.

CALIFORNIA WORKPLACE RIGHTS FOR VICTIMS

California law allows employers the right to seek a temporary restraining order to protect you, other employees, and the workplace itself. Victims of domestic violence may need time off to meet with attorneys, protect children, or receive medical or psychological treatment for abuse-related injuries. Your employer is required to provide reasonable accommodation to protect you. This could include things like altering your work schedule, putting a lock on your door, reassigning you to another job, and changing your work telephone number.

Your employer is prohibited against discriminating or retaliating against you based on the information you provide. They are also required to keep the information confidential and disclose it only if legally necessary to protect your safety. 

GETTING THE HELP YOU NEED

Few things in life are more terrifying than suffering from domestic abuse. Domestic violence is all about control the abuser asserts over you. The law provides ways you can take back control, but navigating the process is something you shouldn’t do alone.

The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer use the full force of the law to protect you from the abuser in your life. We do so with compassion, strength, and experience for clients from San Jose and Morgan Hill, California, and surrounding areas. Call now for a free consultation. Your abuser won’t wait. You shouldn’t either.


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