Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Reduction Project

If you have been a victim of domestic violence, the Domestic Violence Reduction Project may be able to help you. The purpose of the Project is to provide legal assistance in order to protect children from further exposure to domestic violence.

Services include representation in court to obtain a restraining order, obtaining child custody and visitation orders, obtaining orders for child and spousal support, and other legal assistance in order to help you and your children escape violence.

Types of Violence – Domestic Violence may include any or all of the following:

  • Physical Violence: this may include shoving, slapping, kicking, punching, or some action that causes physical pain
  • Emotional Violence: this may include coercion, threats, and anger to create a fearful and controlling situation
  • Sexual Violence: this may include unwanted fondling, touching, or forced sexual intimacy

Family Code Section 630 st.seq. provides the law covering protective orders and other domestic violence prevention orders.

Domestic Violence Protective Orders

A domestic violence restraining order is a court order that helps protect people from abuse or threats of abuse from someone they have a close relationship with.

You can ask for a domestic violence restraining order if:

  • A person has abused (or threatened to abuse) you; AND
  • You have a close relationship with that person. You are:
  • Married or registered domestic partners,
  • Divorced or separated,
  • Dating or used to date,
  • Living together or used to live together(more than roommates),
  • Parents together of a child, OR
  • Closely related (parent, child, brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, in-law).

If you are a parent and your child is being abused, you can also file a restraining order on behalf of your child to protect your child (and you and other family members). If your child is 12 or older, he or she can file the restraining order on his or her own.

Types of Domestic Violence Restraining Orders

Emergency Protective Order (EPO)

An EPO is a type of restraining order that only law enforcement can ask for by calling a judge. Judges are available to issue EPOs 24 hours a day. So, a police officer that answers a domestic violence call can ask a judge for an emergency protective order at any time of the day or night.

The emergency protective order starts right away and last 7 days, but can be issued for up to 30 days. The judge can order the abusive person to leave the home and stay away from the victim and any children for up to a week. That gives the victim of the abuse enough time to go to court to file for a temporary restraining order.

To get an order that lasts longer than an EPO, you must ask the court for a temporary restraining order (also called a “TRO”).

Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)

When you go to court to ask for a domestic violence restraining order, you fill out paperwork where you tell the judge everything that has happened and why you need a restraining order. If the judge believes you need protection, he or she will give you a temporary restraining order.

Temporary restraining orders usually last until the court hearing date and can be extended if needed.

“Permanent” Restraining Order

When you go to court for the hearing that was scheduled for your TRO, the judge may issue a “permanent” restraining order. They are not really “permanent” because they usually last up to 5 years.

Near the end of those 5 years (or whenever your order runs out), you can ask for a new restraining order so you remain protected. You must ask for a renewal before it expires.

Criminal Protective Order or “Stay-Away” Order

Sometimes, when there is a domestic violence incident (or series of incidents), the district attorney will file criminal charges against the abuser. This starts a criminal court case. It is common for the criminal court to issue a criminal protective order against the defendant (the person who is committing the violence and abuse) while the criminal case is going on, and, if the defendant is found guilty or pleads guilty, the order can last up to 10 years.

Immigrant Victims

GBLA provides legal assistance to immigrants who are survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault.

Services include VAWA and U-Visa petitions, petitions to adjust to Lawful Permanent Resident status for those with approved VAWA and U-Visa petitions and advocacy with law enforcement agencies to help survivors find the resources they need to be independent and stay safe.

GBLA Domestic Violence Brochure image

DomesticViolence_final (updated)

Additional Resources:

Kern County Family Justice Center
(661) 868-8410

Open Door Network (formerly Alliance)
24-Hour Crisis Line: (661) 327-1091
Emergency Hotline: (800) 273-7713
LGBTQ Hotline: (661) 322-2869
Outreach: (661) 322-0931

211 Kern County
Call 2-1-1 for HELP in Kern County
Bakersfield Homeless Center (now a part of
Open Door Network)

California Coalition Against Sexual Assault
California Courts Legal Forms Sexual Abuse Recovery Center California Attorney General’s
Crime and Violence Prevention Center