Under California law, domestic violence can involve physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse. Although many people associate domestic violence with marital violence, the perpetrator can also be a family member or cohabitant, someone who lives in the same residence as you and your children.
Recognizing the signs of any type of domestic abuse can help you reach out to an experienced lawyer who can evaluate your case and guide you through the restraining or protective order filing process. You have legal solutions to keep yourself and your family safe.
Most people associate domestic violence with physical abuse although it is only one type. While obvious examples of physical abuse include beating, shoving, kicking, choking, or gripping to the point of bruising, you may also experience physical abuse in less obvious ways.
If your spouse, domestic, partner, or parent leaves you in an unsafe location, exhibits reckless behavior to scare you, or forbids you from seeking medical treatment, this is also physical violence. Interfering with your food and fluid intake or your sleep also qualifies as physical abuse. Withholding medications or assistive devices, whether glasses or a wheelchair, is also domestic violence.
Emotional abuse is a strategy that aims at controlling another person via manipulation and other tactics. It can begin subtly and be difficult to identify when you are dealing with it. While certain verbal patterns are more obvious to recognize as abusive or bullying, the way emotional abuse works usually erodes someone’s self-esteem and leads to mental health issues. Feeling trapped is a typical sign that points toward emotional abuse.
Threats and blackmail can play a central role in emotional abuse and are effective tactics to keep you under control and isolate you from other people, including loved ones. This type of domestic violence can include name calling and other derogatory comments. Emotional abuse can happen in public or private.
Common signs of emotional abuse include:
- Tracking your whereabouts
- Withholding affection
Emotional abusers often deny any wrongdoing and place the guilt on you through blame, jealousy, and/or unrealistic expectations. The fact that they do not physically harm you directly can also prevent some people from recognizing they are the target of emotional abuse. However emotional abuse can have severe consequences just like physical or sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse happens when your partner forces or coerces you into certain sexual behaviors or activities. It can include rape, fondling, and other sexual contacts. It can also include berating you for your sexual preferences or ignoring your consent under any circumstances. Sexual abuse can also involve exposing you to pornographic materials you do not want to watch or including additional sexual partners to please your spouse.
Although sexual violence exists on a spectrum, anything that is not consensual can be considered sexual abuse.
Hire a Compassionate Family Law Attorney to Help You File a Restraining Order
If you are experiencing domestic violence, whether physical, emotional, and/or sexual, California laws let you file for a restraining order to protect yourself and your loved ones from the abuser. The Domestic Violence Prevention Act Restraining Orders help prevent your domestic abuser from harassing and hurting you. Although its initial duration is only three weeks, you can petition for an extension of up to three years.
In certain cases, you may also qualify for an Emergency Protective Order if you are in immediate danger. A law enforcement officer can petition one from a judge. This type of protective order is valid for five court days or seven calendar days.
At Cutter & Lax, Attorneys at Law, our team has extensive experience assisting clients file for restraining orders, when they seek to obtain sole custody of their children, or during high-conflict divorces involving a history of domestic violence. We always start by reviewing your case to get a detailed picture before recommending specific legal options to protect your family and your future.
Contact Cutter & Lax, Attorneys at Law today at (818) 839-2533 to schedule an appointment to discuss your restraining order options if you or your loved ones are victims of domestic violence in the San Fernando Valley.