What Is A Restraining Order?
A Restraining Order is a court order that helps people who are being abused. The abuse is commonly a physical act of violence by one person to another to hurt someone. Some actions considered abusive are hitting, kicking, scaring, throwing things, pulling hair, pushing, following/stalking, harassing, sexually assaulting, or the act of threatening to do any of these things. Abuse can be spoken, written, or physical.
A Domestic Violence Restraining Order can order the restrained person to:
- Not contact or go near you, your children, other relatives, or others who live with you
- Not have a gun
- Move out of your house
- Follow child custody and visitation orders
- Pay child support
- Pay spousal or partner support
- Stay away from the pet(s)
The California Code of Civil Procedure defines harassment as either:
- Unlawful violence (assault, battery or stalking other than in self-defense or defense of others)
- Credible threats of violence (a statement or course of conduct with the intent to cause another fear for their safety of self and family member)
- A knowing, willful act directed at a specific person that seriously alarms, annoys or harasses that person, serves no legitimate purpose and would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and in fact, causes the victim to suffer such distress.
The victim must establish by “clear and convincing evidence” that one of the three definitions of harassment listed above have occurred. To put a quantitative number to this definition the court must believe with approximately 80% certainty that the harassment took place.
- Physical abuse – use of physical force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain or impairment
- Sexual abuse – nonconsensual sexual contact of any kind with an elderly person
- Emotional abuse – infliction of anguish, pain or distress through verbal or nonverbal acts
- Financial/material exploitation – illegal or improper use of an elder’s funds, property or assets
- Neglect – refusal or failure to fulfill any part of a person’s obligations or duties to an elderly person
- Abandonment – desertion of an elderly person by an individual who has physical custody of the elder or by a person who has assumed responsibility for providing care to the elder.
A Restraining Order can protect an elderly or dependent person from physical, emotional or financial abuse. It can also order someone not to harass them or destroy their property and can prevent someone from staying in their home unless that person is an owner of the property where the elderly or dependent person lives.