Getting Protection From A Violent Partner: Escaping Intimate Partner Abuse
Being in a relationship where you are being abused is scary. However, an even scary thought is feeling trapped and not knowing how to get out. Because I have gone through this situation, and successfully gained legal assistance from my local CountyCourthouse, I thought that I would try to help shed some light on how to get the help you may need. The way that you get help may vary from state to state, so please check with your local state’s CountyCourthouse for more specific information. This information applies to those needing help in California.
A Domestic Violence Restraining Order can be requested when you want to protect you and your family from someone that you are dating (or used to date), are married to (or were married to), are closely related to (like a parent, child, brother or sister, grandparent, or grandchild) or someone you have a child with.
If granted, the Domestic Violence Restraining Order can order the restrained party to not contact you in any way, stay away from you, your home and your work, move out of your home. In addition, if you have children with the restrained party the court can order either parent to pay child support or follow custody and visitation orders as set forth by the court.
My first advice would be to document any and all abuse. Documentation is your friend when it comes to trying to get protection. Solid documentation that can be substantiated by hard copy records is even better. For example, one of the things my ex would do was call me incessantly, both on my cell phone and my work phone. I used a small spiral notebook for all my documentation, and just kept track of how many times she called, and even what she would say sometimes. I also wrote down when she would follow me; dates, times and locations. The telephone documentation that I kept was then substantiated by my cell phone records (and photographs of my work phone that showed the telephone calls and text messages she was making and sending to me) that I had tracked myself. This lent credibility to my tracking, so that when other incidents could not be substantiated (they were her word against mine) the scale was thus tipped in my favor, because of my “proven track record” of honesty and accurate record keeping.
If you need immediate assistance and need to escape now, there may not be time for this documentation step of the process. If you are in danger and you are afraid for your life, you need to leave now! If there is an immediate altercation, and you call 911, they can arrest your abuser, and grant you an Emergency Protective Order, that will buy you time to then go to your local courthouse to get a Restraining Order that will offer you longer lasting protection.
If you are computer savvy and have a safe and secure way to do so, you can actually go to your county courthouse’s website and print out all the forms you will need to fill out to get your restraining order to be reviewed by a judge. This will save you some time, and help prevent you from having to spend an extended amount of time at the courthouse, which is not a fun way to spend your day. Trust me. You can find your local county courthouse at this website: http://www.courts.ca.gov/find-my-court.htm. You can also find the Judicial Council Forms to request your restraining order here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/forms.htm by selecting Domestic Violence Prevention – [select a language]. This will bring up a list of forms that you can type directly into then print out or print out and fill in by hand. Form DV 505 can be used as a basic checklist for what forms you need to fill out. Not every form will pertain to your specific situation, but some are required to even be considered by the judge.
Once your forms are filled out you will take your forms to the courthouse and have a clerk look over them they will let you know what, if anything you are missing, and give you additional forms, should you need them. Once all the forms are completed and ready to go, the clerk will tell you when you can come back to find out if the temporary order is granted, which is typically later the same day, unless you are filing your papers late in the day. Once your temporary order is granted it will also be set for a hearing, and you will need to arrange for the restrained party to be served. The serving of the DVRO is typically done for free by your local sheriff. When you receive your granted order, they will go over the specifics and point you in the right direction to move forward.
Another big piece of advice I wish to offer is to not back down. This is a very scary time, but you must push on so that you can become free from your situation. If you start the process then give up, it becomes harder to get the help you need later. Besides, every day you stay in the situation, the harder it becomes to leave and the more dangerous it becomes for you. Please help yourself and take the next step to take your life back. You only get one shot at this life, and it is up to you to preserve it.
Domestic Violence Resources in Sacramento County:
WEAVE 916-920-2952 – main crisis line
My Sister’s House (Asian/Pan Pacific Services) 916-428-3271
PEACE for Families (Roseville) 800-575-5352
St. John’s Shelter for Women and Children 916-453-1482
DomesticViolenceInterventionCenter (Citrus Heights) 916-728-7210
24/7 Sexual Assault hotline 800-656-HOPE
24/7 Domestic Violence hotline 800-799-SAFE
Children’s Emergency Services
Parent Support Hotline 916-394-2005
Children’s Crisis Nursery 916-394-2000 *Emergency Childcare and shelter services.
Adult Protective Services (Elderly / Adult Victims) 916-847-9377
Children’s Protective Services (CPS) 916-875-5437
Victim/Witness Center 916-874-5701
Victim Notification of Abuser’s Release from Jail 800-491-3064
1-800-VICTIMS Legal assistance for victims of domestic violence
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
The National Domestic Violence Hotline creates access by providing 24-hour support through advocacy, safety planning, resources and hope to everyone affected by domestic violence.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
- California Courts - Find My Court
A list of California Courts by county, with phone numbers and websites.
- California Courts - Browse All Forms
Select Domestic Violence Prevention - [select your language] for the list of forms you will need.
- California Courts - Online Self-Help Center
California Courts Online Self-Help Center can help you with your case and/or direct you to a lawyer or organization in your county that can help.
- National Network to End Domestic Violence | National Network to End Domestic Violence
The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) is a membership and advocacy organization representing the 54 state and U.S. territory domestic violence coalitions. NNEDV is the voice of these coalitions, their more than 2,000 local domestic vi