Domestic Violence

It is estimated that every year, 2-4 million women are victims of domestic violence. According to the State Bar of California, “Domestic violence is behavior driven by a need to control. It can range from threats, annoying telephone calls and stalking (such as following the victim to and from work, and threatening the victim), to unwanted sexual touching and hitting. It also can be defined as one spouse destroying the other's personal property.”

By definition, a domestic relationship isn’t limited to just a spouse. It could involve an ex-spouse, co-habitant, ex-cohabitant, a person you’ve been dating or to whom you are engaged, a person with whom you’ve had a child, or someone related to you by blood or marriage.

Numerous laws have been passed in California to protect victims against domestic violence. In California the perpetrator of a domestic violence crime may be prosecuted without the participation of the victim to bring charges. An attorney may assist you in obtaining a domestic restraining order for protection against the person threatening you with domestic violence. People under a domestic restraining order are prohibited from acquiring or owning a gun. Law officers responding to domestic violence calls are required to provide written information about local shelters, community services, and criminal and civil options.

Hospitals, health care providers and clinics, by law, must receive training in how to detect domestic violence victims and are required to report instances to the police by phone and in writing within 48 hours. Statistics show an estimated 52% of women visiting hospital emergency rooms have reported at least one instance of domestic violence in their life.

Through the Battered Women’s Protection act, substantial state funds go to financing shelters and toward prosecution of domestic violence.