What Is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors that a person uses against an intimate or former partner. The abuser uses fear and intimidation to gain power and control over another person. The abuse can take many forms, including emotional, economic, and sexual abuse and it may involve using children, pets, threats, intimidation, and isolation.
Domestic violence has harmed relationships for centuries and still remains a widespread problem. It affects millions of people annually, mostly women. In the United States, 1 in 4 women will be physically assaulted by an intimate partner at some point in their lives. Domestic violence affects people of all ages, ethnicities, cultures, religions, sexual orientations, educational backgrounds, and income levels.
Cases involving domestic violence can be some of the most difficult and sensitive cases with which to work. The lives of victims of this type of assault may be seriously disrupted; often times the victims are forced to “flee” in the middle of the night, leaving behind clothing, identification papers and other personal properties.
The Victim Advocate assigned to this unit works out of the Alameda County Family Justice Center, a one stop shop for victims and families of domestic violence. The Advocate works collaboratively with the many different agencies that provide support, emergency shelters, counseling, guidance with child custody issues, and emergency protective orders.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do I do if I am a victim of Domestic Violence?
Most important is your safety and that of your family. Contact your local law enforcement agency and file a report. Law enforcement will assist in securing your safety by removing the abuser from the home. If he/she is not in custody, they will recommend that you stay with a family member, go to shelter or obtain temporary lodging. We make referrals to several Alameda County shelters. Important referrals are listed on the Other Resources page.
What happens after I call law enforcement?
After law enforcement finishes their report, it is submitted to the District Attorney’s Office for charging where the assigned attorney will determine if there is sufficient evidence to file criminal charges.
How do I get a restraining order?
When the officer arrives on the scene, you may request an Emergency Protective Order (EPO) which is good for 5 business days. In order to receive and extended order, please contact the Alameda County Family Justice Center (ACFJC) at (510) 267-8800.
Now that I have this order of protection, am I safe?
An order of protection cannot guarantee your safety; therefore, it is important that you have outlined a safety plan. Our Investigators along with a Victim Advocate will provide a safety assessment outline and review a detailed safety plan for you. They will provide you with names and numbers of appropriate police personnel, community advocates and domestic violence shelters as well as give you a packet that will assist you in tracking any threats, unusual phone calls, vandalism or any other forms of harassment which should be reported to law enforcement right away.
Can you help me relocate?
In some cases, the California Victim Compensation Program may be able to provide you with financial assistance including but not limited to relocation expenses up to $2000 per household. The Victim Advocate will assist you in filling out the appropriate paper work and submit to claims to process in an emergency basis.
WHAT IS A RESTRAINING ORDER?
There are three types of Orders:
1. Emergency Protective Order (EPO)
These orders are temporary orders issued by the reporting police agency at the scene of the crime if the defendant is arrested. The order is in effect for 5 business days only.
2. Criminal Protective Order (CPO)
Be aware that it is unlikely to receive a Criminal Protective Order if you have moved after a violent incident, since CPO’s sent by the court are usually sent out to the address listed on the police report. An initial CPO is in effect for 3 years or while the case is pending. Once the case resolves, per 273.5(i) PC, the Deputy District Attorney may request a CPO to be valid for up to 10 years regardless of whether a defendant goes to jail or state prison.
3. Civil Restraining order (CRO)
You also have the right to file for a Domestic Violence Temporary/Civil Restraining Order also known as a TRO or CRO. This order may be necessary if there are children in common, and if you are seeking child custody or visitation orders. The following agencies may be able to assess your needs and let you know what options are most appropriate to your situation. A CRO may be in effect for a maximum of 5 years. These agencies include: Family Violence Law Center (510) 208-0220 for intake, Bay Area Legal Aid (510) 250-5050 for intake, or the Family Facilitator’s Office at (510) 891-6030.
Now that I have this order of protection, am I safe?
A restraining order will protect you legally but cannot guarantee your safety. It is important that you have outlined a safety plan. Our Investigators along with a Victim Advocate will provide a safety assessment outline and review a detailed safety plan for you. They will provide you with information to appropriate police personnel, community advocates and domestic violence shelters as well as give you a packet that will assist you in tracking any threats, unusual phone calls, vandalism or any other forms of harassment which should be reported to law enforcement immediately.
“Could you imagine what the person sent me through?
When bad people do what they do
What would he do, cop a plea so I can be free?
Here the call comes, oh my God, I have no fears
For the courts gave him 18 years.
I am finally free
That dark cloud is no longer over me.
I love myself better than I had imagined.
What I have learned is that the choices you make
Is a result of where you are today
And your freedom is taken,
When you can’t walk away.”
-- victim of crime