The Koblin Family Law Center

How restraining orders protect domestic abuse victims

California residents who are the victims of domestic violence frequently take legal action against their abusers and seek restraining orders against them. Restraining orders have several immediate effects that may alleviate a domestic abuse situation and allow abused people to make arrangements for a safer life for themselves and their families.

There are three types of restraining orders in California. Personal conduct orders prohibit abusers from taking specific actions against the people named as protected persons in the order. These orders may include actions such as physically attacking protected persons or threatening to do so, stalking them, contacting them by phone, email or other means or destroying their property. Stay-away orders list places that abusers must remain a specified distance away from. These orders often specify that abusers must stay 50 or 100 yards away from the homes, workplaces, schools or other places where the abused person or their children frequently go. Abusers who are named in move-out orders must take their clothing and personal belongings out of their homes and move out of protected persons' homes.

Restraining orders profoundly affect abusers' lives, making it illegal for them to do certain things in addition to the actions named in the restraining orders against them. They may be prohibited from owning firearms, going to specific types of places or living in their current homes. These prohibitions are typically for the protection of the people named as protected persons in their restraining orders.

Finding evidence that domestic abuse has occurred in the past may be difficult, depending on whether victims filed police reports or sought medical treatment. Family law attorneys can work with abused clients in order to prove that they are in continued danger of domestic violence and need restraining orders for their protection.

Source: Judicial Council of California, "Restraining Orders", accessed on March 9, 2015

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The Koblin Family Law Center
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