SACRAMENTO, CA (STL.News) During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Attorney General Becerra highlights resources to help put a stop to intimate partner violence and is releasing a new video to raise awareness about this critical issue. While physical distancing is crucial to slowing the spread of COVID-19, it may pose additional challenges or dangers to people experiencing intimate partner violence, which can include physical violence, sexual violence, stalking, or psychological harm. On average, someone in America is being physically abused by an intimate partner every 3 seconds, which adds up to more than 10 million women and men each year. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911.
“October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and now — more than ever — it is critical that we all do everything we can to increase safety,” said Attorney General Becerra. “With COVID-19, we are seeing a rise in domestic and intimate partner violence at home. That poses real challenges and danger for people who want to stay safe from COVID. For some of us, home isn’t always a safe place. That’s why it’s crucial that we all have the tools necessary to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our neighbors. There’s never an excuse for violence. Period.”
California law offers Domestic Violence Restraining Orders and Gun Violence Restraining Orders. These orders generally prohibit people who pose an imminent, significant danger to themselves or others from possessing or purchasing firearms or ammunition. You can obtain a protective order to protect yourself or your family by calling your local law enforcement agency or by submitting forms to a court. Your county’s court may have additional information on procedures in your area. In light of COVID-19, the California Judicial Council issued temporary emergency rules on April 6, 2020, including an extension of the time frames for specified temporary restraining orders. Those extensions remain in effect. Information on current guidance for protective orders is available below and from the California Courts:
Domestic Violence Restraining Orders: An emergency protective order can be requested by a law enforcement officer at any time of day or night. Emergency protective orders generally last for up to seven days to allow for the next step in the process. Under current guidance, emergency protective orders issued during the COVID-19 statewide emergency last for up to 30 days. The subject of the restraining order can be required to leave the home and stay away from the victim if requested in the order. During the period that the emergency order is effective, you may apply for a longer-term restraining order. Judges may issue temporary restraining orders that last up to 90 days during COVID-19. Judges may also issue permanent orders that last up to five years. You can also begin the process by submitting forms to a court.
Gun Violence Restraining Orders: An emergency gun violence restraining order can be requested by a law enforcement officer and generally lasts for up to 21 days. During COVID-19, all gun violence orders issued or set to expire can be extended up to 90 days to allow the matter to be heard by the court. The subject of the restraining order is prohibited from possessing or buying a gun or ammunition and must give up any guns or ammunition they possess. During the period that an emergency order is effective, you or a law enforcement officer may request a hearing for a longer-term order. A judge may issue a gun violence restraining order that lasts up to a year. You can also begin the process by submitting forms to a court.
Many legal aid clinics are offering telephone appointments during COVID-19. These clinics provide free or low-cost legal assistance for survivors of intimate partner violence. To find a clinic that works in your region, visit the State Bar for a list of free or low-cost legal aid programs or resources.