Do I Have to Be the Victim of Physical Violence to Get a Domestic Violence Restraining Order?


Better understanding the domestic violence laws and protections in California can help you better protect yourself from the effects of this powerful form of abuse, and the most important step you can take is reaching out to the professional legal counsel of an experienced California domestic violence attorney.

Domestic Violence Defined

In California, domestic violence is defined as abuse or the threat of abuse perpetrated by someone with whom you have a current or former intimate relationship, which can include any of the following:

  • A current or former domestic partner
  • A current or former spouse
  • Someone whom you currently date or formerly dated
  • Someone whom you currently live with or formerly lived with (beyond just roommate status)
  • Someone with whom you have a child
  • Someone who is closely related to you by marriage

The abuse or threat of abuse extends to all the following:

  • Intentionally or recklessly physically harming or attempting to harm you
  • Assaulting you sexually
  • Making you credibly fear that you or someone else are about to be seriously hurt, such as via threats against you or promises to harm someone else
  • Harassing, stalking, threatening, or hitting you
  • Disturbing your peace
  • Destroying your property

The physical abuse associated with domestic abuse does not have to mean physically hitting you. Instead, it encompasses all the following:

  • Kicking, shoving, or pushing you
  • Pulling your hair
  • Throwing things – at you or otherwise
  • Scaring you
  • Following you
  • Preventing you from coming and going freely

Physical abuse can also include physical abuse of a family pet.

Finally, the abuse you experience does not have to be physical and does not have to leave physical scars. All the following meet the legal standard:

  • Verbal abuse, such as haranguing you
  • Emotional or psychological abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Digital abuse, or electronic abuse

Often domestic abusers engage in multiple forms of abuse, and it can creep up on you. What may begin in the tolerable range can escalate to terrifying before you realize what’s happening. It’s important to know, however, that there are helpful resources out there that can help you assess your situation, and if you need a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO), a dedicated California domestic violence attorney can help.

Domestic Violence Restraining Order

If someone who qualifies under California’s domestic violence laws – as discussed above – has abused you or has threatened to abuse you or your child, you can seek a domestic violence restraining order. To do so, you will need to inform the court of the abuse you’ve suffered at the hand of your domestic partner, but the abuse in question does not have to be physical violence.

What a Domestic Violence Restraining Order Can Do for You

Domestic violence restraining orders are designed to restrain the person name from engaging in abusive behaviors and can include all of the following:

  • Prohibiting your abuser from going near you, your children, other relatives, or those with whom you live
  • Requiring your abuser to stay away from your home, your place of work, or the schools your children attend
  • Requiring your abuser to move out of your home – if you currently live together
  • Requiring your abuser to adhere to any child custody and visitation orders, to pay spousal or partner support, and to pay child support – as applicable
  • Prohibiting your abuser from having a gun
  • Prohibiting your abuser from going near any of your pets
  • Requiring your abuser to transfer the rights of your smartphone number and account to you
  • Requiring your abuser to pay specific bills
  • Prohibiting your abuser from changing any insurance policies that pertain to you
  • Requiring your abuser to return or release specific properties to you
  • Prohibiting your abuser from doing anything, such as incur immense expenses, that can significantly affect your marital property – if you are currently married or domestic partners
  • Requiring your abuser to complete a year-long batterer intervention program successfully

Turn to an Experienced California Domestic Violence Attorney for the Help You Need

If a domestic partner or someone else who qualifies under domestic violence laws is abusing you, whether physically or by any other means, you shouldn’t wait to reach out to a compassionate California domestic violence attorney with the legal skill and drive to help.