Around the world, at least 1 in every 3 women has been beaten, coerced, or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family. Studies also suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually. Regardless of your gender, economic status, geographical location, age, or sexual orientation: domestic violence and abuse are never normal or acceptable.
You and your children’s safety is paramount. If you are in immediate danger, get to a safe location and call 911.
The courts in the state of California define domestic violence as:
“Abuse, or threats of abuse, when the person being abused and the abuser are or have been in an intimate relationship (married or domestic partners, are dating or used to date, live or lived together, or have a child together). It is also when the abused person and the abusive person are closely related by blood or by marriage. This means one or both people in a relationship are participating in the following behaviors:
- Physically hurting or trying to hurt someone, intentionally or recklessly;
- Sexual assault;
- Making someone reasonably afraid that they (or someone else) are about to be seriously hurt (for example: threats or promises to harm someone); OR
- Behavior like harassing, stalking, threatening, or hitting someone; disturbing someone’s peace; or destroying someone’s personal property.
“The physical abuse is not just hitting. Abuse can be kicking, shoving, pushing, pulling hair, throwing things, scaring or following you, or keeping you from freely coming and going. It can even include physical abuse of the family pets. Also, keep in mind that the abuse in domestic violence does not have to be physical. Abuse can be verbal (spoken), emotional, or psychological. You do not have to be physically hit to be abused. Often, abuse takes many forms, and abusers use a combination of tactics to control and have power over the person being abused.”
The Judicial Branch of California defines a domestic violence restraining order as “a court order that helps protect people from abuse or threats of abuse.
A restraining order can require that you:
- Not contact or go near the protected person(s);
- Not have a gun or firearm while the order is in effect;
- Move out of the house;
- Follow child custody and visitation orders;
- Pay child support;
- Pay spousal or partner support (if you are married or domestic partners);
- Stay away from pets;
- Pay certain bills; or
- Release or return certain property.
If There Is a Restraining Order Against You:
Read the order carefully. If you disobey the order, you can go to jail or be fined.
If you are ordered to move out, take the clothes and belongings you will need until the court date and move out.
You CANNOT own, possess, or have a gun or firearm while the order is in effect. If you have a gun now, you have to turn it in to the police or sell it to a gun dealer.
You do not need a lawyer to respond to a restraining order. BUT it is a good idea to have a lawyer, especially if you have children. And having a restraining order issued against you can have very serious consequences, so by having a lawyer you can protect your rights as best as possible.
If you do not agree with the restraining order(s) the judge has given you, you’ll have a chance to tell your side of the story at your court date. Before you fill out all the sections of your Response to Request for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order form, make sure you have these three documents nearby. You should have received them all during the restraining order process. You’ll need your Temporary Restraining Order (DV-110), Court Hearing form (DV-109), and the Request for Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DV-100). The basic questions on the Response Form are straightforward. If there’s something you’re unsure how to answer, in most cases you’ll be able to find the answer in the three backup forms I mentioned.
Once you have filled out all your forms, you have to file them with the court and “serve” (give a copy to) the protected persons. Print two copies for your records, and save an electronic copy to your PDFfiller “My Forms” secure files. Both filing your Response and “serving” it have to be done before your deadline. Take the original and 2 copies of your forms to the court clerk to file them. The court clerk will keep the original and return both copies to you, stamped “Filed.” There is NO FEE for you to do this.
When you are ready, simply click here to edit your Response to Request for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order and to sign, save, and print it.
Remember: “you have the right to feel safe…You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect…You have the right to change your mind.” (The Relationship Bill of Rights, DVSAC) If you have questions or aren’t sure if you’re in an abusive relationship, this guide published by HelpGuide.org may help you sort things out, and HelpGuide.org provides toll-free numbers you can call for help, in the US and worldwide.
Save your time and submit important documents online in a matter of few clicks.