In California, if you or your child is a victim of violence, harassment, assault, domestic abuse, or threats, you can increase your security by filing a restraining order or protective order. Once you file a restraining order and it is served on your abuser, the California Court System is your protector.
A restraining order/protective order can keep your abuser out of your home, workplace, or anywhere near you or your children. It can keep your child from being taken away, stop your abuser from owning a weapon, or stop anything else that can threaten you—because the abuser will have to face consequences, meaning jail time. To qualify for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order in California, the person you want to file an order against must be:
- A spouse or former spouse
- The person you are living with
- The other parent of your child
- The person you are dating
- Emergency Protective Order (EPO). This type of Restraining Order is issued by law enforcement and is valid for 5 days. It is used by domestic violence victims for their immediate protection and safety.
- Domestic Violence Temporary Restraining Order (TRO or DVRO). A California Temporary Restraining Order is in force for three weeks, but it can be made into a permanent restraining order for 1 to 3 years. This is also useful for domestic violence victims.
- Criminal Protective Order ("No Contact" Order). This type of restraining order is obtained through the District Attorney's office, and is issued in active domestic violence cases. With this order, your abuser cannot call, write, e-mail or contact you at all except through lawyers.
- Civil Harassment Restraining Order (CHO). This restraining order doesn't need to qualify as a domestic violence restraining order. It can be used to stop harassment, threats, stalking, etc. by neighbors, roommates and co-workers.