Domestic violence is an increasingly common issue here in California. Earlier this month, in California, Tom Sizemore, Darren Collison (an NBA player for the Sacramento Kings), and Campbell City Councilman Jeffrey Cristina, just to name a few, were all arrested for acts of domestic violence.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, please be aware that you are not alone. Domestic violence is a problem nationwide and has been for quite some time. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) reports that, in the United States, about 20 people every minute are abused by their intimate partner. The NCADV further reports that, each and every year, the United States normally has more than 10 million domestic violence victims. In addition, the NCADV reports that almost every day, the domestic violence hotline receives about 20,000 phone calls that directly relate to domestic violence abuse.

California enforces its domestic violence laws in an effort to deter violence in relationships. This post is aimed at carefully guiding you through California’s somewhat complex domestic violence statute. If you are a victim of domestic violence, it is important to seek the help of an experienced family law attorney. Please do not hesitate on seeking help for this issue as domestic violence can escalate quickly.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence occurs when a person is abused or receives threats of abuse by his or her intimate partner. California law recognizes that a person’s intimate partner can be a current intimate partner, a past intimate partner, cohabitant, former cohabitant, a parent or a partner in a dating relationship. The abuse can take the form of threats, hitting, kicking, spitting, et cetera.

Domestic violence itself can come in several forms, some being more serious than others. Most often domestic violence occurs when a person physically injures, threatens physical injury, or attempts to physically injure a person. Domestic violence can also take the form of a sexual assault. What you may not know is that domestic violence can also take place when a person harasses, stalks, destroys the peace, or even damages the personal property of that person’s intimate partner.  

California’s Penal Code and Domestic Violence Charges

There are various sections of California’s Penal Code that a prosecutor may apply when an individual is charged with domestic violence. In essence, the severity of the domestic violence itself, along with the case’s unique circumstances, will assist the prosecutor in his or her decision as to which domestic violence charges to pursue. If you are facing domestic violence charges, then you may need a criminal defense attorney to assist you.

For example, if a person commits a battery against an intimate partner, this is one form of domestic violence. Battery is defined in California’s Penal Code Section 242 as the “willful and unlawful use of force or violence against the person of another.” As per Section 243(d) of California’s Penal Code, California also defines battery as when a person inflicts serious bodily injury upon another person.

The Problem of Domestic Violence is Widespread

It is not only women who are victims of domestic violence. Men can be domestic violence victims, too. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, females make up around 80% of all domestic violence victims. Hence, about 20%of all domestic violence victims are males. So, if you are a male victim of domestic violence, please note that you are not alone.

As noted above, domestic violence is also a problem right here in California. As a matter of fact, domestic violence is a significant problem here in California. The number of reported cases of domestic violence in California is higher than the national average of one in four women being victims of domestic violence.

Pursuant to data collected by the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NIPSVS), 33% of California women have, at some time in their lives, been a victim of some form of domestic violence at the hands of their intimate partner. In California, altogether, it is reported that 4.5 million women have been a domestic violence victim at some point in their lives.

Per the California Women’s Health Survey, women who are non-white have a higher number of domestic violence reports than white women. In addition, the Survey found that younger women between the ages of 18 and 29 have a higher number of domestic violence reports than women 30 years of age and older.

Furthermore, this Study also found that women with low income have a higher number of domestic violence reports than women with a higher income. Lastly, women without a four-year college degree have a higher number of domestic violence reports than women with a four-year college degree.

California’s Emergency Protective Orders and Restraining Orders

Per California state law, if you are a victim of domestic violence, you may apply for emergency protective orders and restraining orders. These are applicable in both civil and criminal courts. Please note that it is not necessary that you suffer from physical harm before being awarded protective orders and restraining orders. Even if the domestic violence you receive results in you suffering mere emotional distress, or if you suffer from a constant fear of imminent harm, this is sufficient for a California court to grant your request for emergency protective orders and/or restraining orders.

Take Action and Hire an Attorney for Your Case

In all, please note, again, if you are a victim of domestic violence, it is important that you take action. Do not wait for your situation to get even more dangerous; it is not worth it. To help guide you through this difficult time in your life, it is very important that you contact an experienced family law attorney. The family law lawyers at Fernandez & Karney are here for you.

Our law office assists clients throughout the Los Angeles area. We can be reached at 310-564-5710. Please contact our law office today to set up a FREE, no obligation consultation. We look forward to talking to you.