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Break the Cycle: What to Do If You’re a Victim of Domestic Abuse

Posted by Ahluwalia Law Professional Corporation | Aug 20, 2018 | 0 Comments

For the longest time, Katie didn't realize that she was in an abusive relationship. At first, Eric raised his voice when she disagreed with him and called her fat and ugly, even comparing her to other women. Soon, nothing she did was ever good enough. When he became angry, he would throw things around the apartment or subject her to the silent treatment for days.

Today was different. When Katie accidentally broke the pot while preparing their morning coffee, Eric called her foul names and, for the first time, got physical by seizing her shoulders and shaking her. Frightened, she spoke to a friend who advised her to contact a domestic violence support service and leave Eric.

What is Domestic Abuse?

Under the California Domestic Violence Prevention Act, acts of domestic violence cover a broad range of abusive acts that include threats, taunting, blame, intimidation, isolating the victim from his or her friends and family, lack of access to finances, physical violence (beating, pinching, pushing, shoving, etc), and sexual abuse (forced sex, undesirable sex, etc). Any threatening or violent behavior can be grounds for prosecuting the aggressor.

The law regards you as a victim of domestic violence if your relationship to the abuser meets any of the criteria below, thereby enabling you to apply for a domestic violence restraining order.

  • A current or former spouse
  • Someone you live with or used to live with
  • A person you dated
  • Someone you have a child with
  • Your parent
  • Any close family member

What to Do If You're a Victim of Domestic Abuse

First of all, one must have an safety plan. So, if, like Katie, you live with the abuser and fear that the violence will continue, the first thing you should do is leave the home as soon as safely possible (with your children, if you have any) and ask a friend, family member, or shelter to let you stay with them. If you are in immediate danger, call the police or yell for help from neighbors or passersby.

If you have to leave with the police in an emergency situation, they can call a judge to issue an emergency protective order, which takes effect immediately and lasts up to seven days. This order will give you custody of your children and require the abuser to stay away from you long enough for you to file for a temporary restraining order, which provides additional protection until your court hearing date.

If you receive a “permanent” domestic violence restraining order at this hearing, it can last up to five years and include conditions like the following:

  • Prohibit the abuser from stalking, assaulting, or sending you threatening communications
  • Prohibit them from buying or possessing a firearm
  • Order them to leave the home or apartment, even if it is in their name
  • Order them to pay child or spousal support
  • Order them to compensate you for economic losses caused by the abuse, such as medical bills and lost wages

At Ahluwalia Law P.C., we are always ready to provide immediate and effective legal counsel to those impacted by domestic abuse. Attorney Madan Ahluwalia will help you navigate the legal steps needed to protect yourself and your children. From emergency custody orders to long-term restraining orders, we will do everything we can to ensure that you remain safe. For more information, please contact us today.

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