During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Attorney General Bonta Highlights Resources to Support Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence
OAKLAND – During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, California Attorney General Rob Bonta today highlighted resources to help support survivors and combat intimate partner violence across the state. The attorney general also released a new video to help increase awareness about the availability of resources for people experiencing intimate partner violence, which can include physical violence, sexual violence, stalking, or psychological harm. According to reports by law enforcement in California, there were 160,646 domestic violence-related calls for assistance across the state in 2020.
"As we continue to confront the economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in our communities, too many remain at increased risk to the threat of violence at home,” said Attorney General Bonta. “During this National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we want to let at-risk Californians know that they aren’t alone. If you or someone you know is in danger, there are resources available to you. We urge you to take advantage of them. Violence against another person is never acceptable, but it can be even more damaging when it takes place in the context of a relationship. We all have to do our part to help keep our people and our communities safe. Even if you’re unsure, it’s always better to call if you think you might need help.”
Under California law, individuals fearing for the safety of themselves or those around them may petition to obtain Domestic Violence Restraining Orders and Gun Violence Restraining Orders. These orders help protect people from potential violence and generally prohibit individuals who pose an imminent, significant danger to themselves or others from possessing or purchasing firearms or ammunition. In light of COVID-19, the California Judicial Council issued temporary emergency rules on April 6, 2020, including an extension of the time frames for specified temporary restraining orders. Those extensions remain in effect.
You can obtain a protective order to protect yourself or your family by calling your local law enforcement agency or by submitting forms to a court. Your county’s court may have additional information on procedures in your area. It’s important to remember that California law prohibits law enforcement authorities from asking individuals, including those who are reporting or are victims of potential crimes, about their immigration status, unless the information is necessary to certify the victim for a U visa (victim of crime visa) or T visa (victim of human trafficking visa). Information on current guidance for protective orders is available below and from the California Courts at www.courts.ca.gov:
- Restraining and Protective Orders: An emergency protective order, including Domestic Violence Restraining Orders, can be requested by a law enforcement officer at any time of day or night. Emergency protective orders generally last for up to seven days to allow for the next step in the process. Under current guidance, emergency protective orders issued during the COVID-19 pandemic last for up to 30 days and temporary orders may be extended up to 90 days. The subject of the restraining order can be required to leave the home and stay away from specified individuals if requested in the order. During the period that the emergency order is effective, you may apply for a longer-term restraining order. Judges may also issue permanent orders that last up to five years. You can also independently begin the process by submitting forms directly to a court.
- Gun Violence Restraining Orders: An emergency gun violence restraining order can be requested by a law enforcement officer and generally lasts for up to 21 days. During COVID-19, gun violence orders set to expire can be extended up to 90 days to allow the matter to be heard by a court. The subject of the restraining order is prohibited from possessing or buying a gun or ammunition and must give up any guns or ammunition in their possession. During the period that an emergency order is effective, the requester or a law enforcement officer can seek a hearing for a longer-term order. A judge may issue a gun violence restraining order that lasts one to five years after the hearing. Family members, employers, coworkers, and teachers, or other school staff may also petition for gun violence restraining orders by submitting forms directly to a court.
Legal Aid Clinics:
During the ongoing pandemic, many legal aid clinics are offering telephone appointments. These clinics provide free or low-cost legal assistance for survivors of intimate partner violence. To find a clinic that works in your region, visit the State Bar for a list of free or low-cost legal aid programs or resources.
Support and Services Information:
In addition to legal aid clinics, there are a number of organizations that provide support and can connect survivors and their families to local services in California and across the country. These organizations include:
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
- https://www.thehotline.org/ (online chat available)
- 1-800-799-7233 (1-800-799-SAFE) | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
- National Sexual Assault Hotline (RAINN)
- https://rainn.org/ (online chat available)
- 1-800-656-4673 (1-800-656-HOPE)
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ (online chat available)
- 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK) | 1-800-799-4889 (TTY)
- The Victims of Crime Resource Center
- https://1800victims.org/ (online chat available)
- 1-800-842-8467 (1-800-VICTIMS) (call or text)
Resources such as emergency food and shelter, legal services, and health services can be found on your city or county websites. For those who have been the victim of a violent crime, the California Victim Compensation Board can help cover related bills and expenses. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers information on mental health resources. Lastly, the California Department of Justice offers general information and resources to help combat sexual violence, including through the department's Victims' Services Unit.