Blog Posts


May 8, 2020
Domestic Violence: Changes to Statutes and Obtaining Restraining Orders

Working from home has been a valued opportunity for some of us, including me, Carla Hartley. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to work at home in a safe environment, but that’s not what happens to other people. That’s why I want to talk a bit about domestic violence.

Changes to Domestic Violence Statutes

There has been a wide range of instances of domestic violence occurring around the country. When people are not unable to leave home and work as they used to, it is expected that such claims will escalate. That’s one of the reasons we are seeing changes to domestic violence statutes right now.

One of the changes – and really one that is incredibly important right now – is in regards to when you can obtain a restraining order. You no longer have to experience some violence to get one. That’s a critical point that you need to know.

In the last few years, the Domestic Violence Prevention Act was renamed to the Domestic Abuse Prevention Act. One of the key reasons for this is that not all abuse is violence. Some of the most damaging abuse is in the form of emotional or psychological abuse. Some of it is physical domination, but there’s no violence. What you need to know is that the legislature has recognized this and changed the law to reflect it.

If you believe you are in an abusive situation, do not assume it has to involve some violence – such as being struck by your partner – for you to take action and obtain a restraining order.

Domestic Violence Is Rising

What we’ve seen in various areas of California is that domestic violence is on the rise. People from all walks of life can be victims in this manner. And, the traditional reasons why people do not leave their abusive spouses are still very much present. There is a mental ascendancy or mental dominance that the abuser has over his or her victim that often makes it impossible to leave.

In our firm, we call this giving your spouse or your partner superpowers. Your spouse does not have superpowers, but they have told you for so long how vulnerable you are to them, and have bashed and destroyed your self-esteem for so long that you now think they can do whatever they want. You may feel as though you have no chance of help whatsoever.

This is not true in any situation. This is a type of mental control and manipulation that the abuser exercises over the victim because they know they can. They also know that if you get away from them and get help, none of what they say is true. This is home. They control you with fear of getting help.

There Is Help Available to You

We’re lucky in this county to have good judges who recognize these risks. We have a wise Judiciary and a good Family Law Bar Association. Many attorneys practice in this area, too. We know what our judges are looking for and, when you come to us for help, we will be very clear with you. If you are experiencing abuse of any type, call an attorney who can help you.

Even if you are afraid right now, and that is very normal, there is help available to you. The court is not going to let you struggle. They will never let the other party not support you when they can do so.

Please take a moment to reach out to someone who can help you. It is well worth doing so to get the help you need.

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