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Domestic Violence

Victims of Domestic Violence

If you would like to be referred to Domestic Violence Lawyer contact Attorney Search Network for a Lawyer Referral.

The law defines domestic violence as certain kinds of abuse directed toward a spouse or former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or a person with whom the abuser has had a "dating or engagement relationship," or with whom the abuser has had a child. Domestic Violence is a type of violence that cuts across all cultures, ethnic backgrounds, education levels, and income brackets. It impacts same sex couples and heterosexuals. It occurs among teenagers as well as senior citizens.

Domestic violence is behavior driven by a need to control. It can range from threats, annoying telephone calls and stalking, to unwanted sexual touching and hitting. It also can be defined as one spouse destroying the other's personal property.

Can the law help me if I'm battered?

If you are in immediate danger, call 911. If you have children, they, too, could be at risk. When the police arrive, explain what happened. The officers can contact an on-call judicial officer and issue you an "Emergency Protective Order" (also called an EPO). An EPO legally prohibits the batterer from coming within a certain distance of the victim. It also may grant you temporary custody of your children. To obtain an EPO, there must be an "immediate and present" danger that you and/or your child will suffer domestic violence. The EPO will only remain in effect for a few days.

To obtain a longer-term restraining order, you must file for a "Temporary Restraining Order" (also called a TRO). A TRO application can be obtainted at your local family law or superior court. A family lawyer lawyer can help you file for a TRO. You also can request that a local law enforcement agency officially notify-"serve" the order on-the batterer. The TRO will go into effect as soon as it has been signed by the judge and personally delivered to the batterer.

After filing for the TRO, you must return to court for a scheduled hearing. At that hearing, you may request that the TRO be made "permanent" which means that it will be good for up to three years and can be renewed.

You can request that the restraining order also apply to your children. The judge can order the restrained person or batterer to stay away from the children's school as well as the family home and any other location where you might be placed in danger. In addition, the judge may give you temporary custody of the children and set rules regarding visitation.

Restraining order do not necessarily keep victims safe. Studies suggest that restraining orders lower, but do not eliminate, the risk of ongoing violence. Some batterers violate the restraining order, which is a criminal offense. A restraining order is a civil action, not a criminal action. It legally bars the abuser from coming near you. Its aim is to help prevent future domestic violence. As long as your abuser does not violate the order or face any other criminal charges, he or she will not be arrested.

If you are the victim of domestic violence contact Attorney Search Network for a pre-screened lawyer referral. Attorney Search Network is a Lawyer Referral Service certified by the State Bar of California and approved by the American Bar Association.

If you have any questions about the information provided above, contact Attorney Search Network for a Lawyer Referral in your local area.