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Home >> Solve a Problem >> Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence
Courtesy of the L.A.P.D. Pamphlet

Pictue of domestic violence victim with arms raised to protect from a blow.


There is
NO excuse
For Domestic


Bullet Criminal Proceedings

Domestic violence is defined as abuse committed against a spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or a person with whom the suspect has had a child, or is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship.

Domestic violence may begin with angry words, a shove, or a slap. It may escalate into a pattern of assaults and controlling behavior including physical, sexual, and psychological attacks against the victim, children, property, and/or pets. up arrow to top of page

Research has shown that this pattern of control and abuse increases in frequency and severity over time. Studies have shown that arrest, jail, probation, and Restraining Orders deter many abusers from physically abusing their partners.

Criminal domestic violence behaviors may include hitting, choking, kicking, assault with a weapon, shoving, scratching, biting, raping, unwanted sexual touching, forcing sex with another person, or violation of a valid Restraining Order. However, insults, questioning family members, suicide threats/attempts, and controlling a victim’s time and activities, although not criminal, are also considered domestic abuse. up arrow to top of page

Once the police are called, they will interview all persons involved, arrest the batterer when possible and write a report. A detective or a prosecutor will call you to ask further questions. We encourage you to be honest with the investigator. Let him or her know about past domestic violence incidents and any details you may have forgotten to tell the officer initially. The report may be sent to the City Attorney’s office (misdemeanors) or to the District Attorney’s office (felonies). If the prosecutor determines there is enough evidence, the case will be filed.

Note: The victim also has the option of contacting the detective, the City Attorney, or the District Attorney and requesting that a criminal complaint be filed. up arrow to top of page

Remember that further threats, Restraining Order violations, or acts of violence are crimes and should be reported to the police and the prosecutor. Save tapes, voice messages, cards, letters and any other evidence for the detective or prosecutor, or for a restraining order hearing or child custody proceedings.

The victim becomes a witness for the State and, unlike civil court, cannot decide whether or not to prosecute or “press charges”. This means that the State may prosecute even when the victim does not want to prosecute. This policy is in effect so that a batterer will learn that coercing or scaring a victim into requesting that charges be dropped is not an effective means of avoiding criminal prosecution.

Studies have shown that the best protection for a survivor of domestic abuse is in many cases through court intervention. up arrow to top of page

Bullet Safety

Contacting the police is one way you can protect yourself from further abuse. You may already have a way to provide safety for you and your children such as:


An Emergency Protective Order (EPO) issued by the police;


A Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO) granted at your request by a judge which may prohibit the abuser from calling you, contacting you or coming near you;


A Criminal Protective Order issued by the criminal court which may prohibit the abuser from calling you, contacting you or coming near you. up arrow to top of page

This also means the abuser may not call you from jail. If the abuser calls you in violation of the Restraining Order, call the police station and make a police report. Ask that phone privileges from jail be removed. The police can contact the court for you to ask the court to prohibit the abuser from using the phone. To find which jail the abuser is in, there is a special program called VINE.

The following safety planning tips should also be considered:


Keep emergency and hotline numbers accessible.


Contact local shelters and discuss safe ways to leave and places for you and your children to go.


Keep an extra set of house and car keys hidden in a safe, quickly accessible place.


Put the following things together in one place where you can access them quickly: identification, money, checkbook, credit cards, medications, legal papers, change of clothing, address books, immigration papers, child custody orders, and anything which could not be easily duplicated.


Develop plans to contact police or find a temporary hiding place with a trustworthy friend.


If time allows: Consider moving furniture into storage, hiding or destroying weapons. Leave food for your pets or discuss the boarding of your pets with the hotline counselor.


Hide or destroy anything that might give a clue as to where you are going. DO NOT LEAVE A NOTE! up arrow to top of page

Note: If moving affects a minor child, seek the advice of the Police, a private attorney or the District Attorney Child Abduction Unit (213-974-7424) regarding child abduction laws.

Once a criminal case is filed, a victim should contact the District Attorney‘s Office, City Attorney, Detective, or a victim advocate to be updated on the status of the case.

Be aware that even if an arrest is made or the offender is in custody, that person may be released at any time. Use the VINE system for release information. up arrow to top of page

Bullet VINE
Victim Information & Notification Everyday

VINE is a free, anonymous, telephone service offered to victims of violent crimes and community members in Los Angeles and Los Angeles County. By calling the VINE number, you can determine the custody status of the offender and register to be notified of the release or transfer of the specific inmate. For inmate custody information, call:

1-877-VINE-4-LA or 1-877-846-3452.

After dialing the VINE number, follow the instructions given by the system. VINE will quickly tell you if the inmate is still in custody and provide custody location. You may call VINE from any touch-tone telephone, any time 24 hours a day, to check on an inmate’s custody status.

You may also choose to register for an automated notification call when an inmate is released or transferred. You will be asked to give a telephone number, including area code, where you want to be reached and a four-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) for use during notification. If you do not have a telephone you may use the telephone number of a relative or friend. Do not use a telephone number that reaches a switchboard.

The VINE system monitors inmate activity in the Los Angeles County Jail System. When an inmate is transferred or released, VINE will automatically react to contact the properly registered persons. Do not be startled if you receive a call from VINE in the middle of the night. VINE will begin calling as soon as new information regarding an inmate is received.

Do not lose your PIN number. Entering the correct PIN number is the only way to stop VINE notification calls.

Note: A victim should NOT depend on the VINE system for safety. If threatened, make yourself as safe as possible as though the inmate were already released. up arrow to top of page

Bullet Inmate Custody Information from LASD

The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Website offers information about inmates who are in jail in Los Angeles County and can link you to data from the Inmate Information Center.

Bullet Restraining Orders

You can request a Domestic Violence Restraining Order against the person who hurt or threatened you or other family members by appearing at the Superior Court located nearest to you. A Restraining Order may be requested whether or not an arrest has been made or the police have been called. An order may be obtained to:


Direct the attacker to leave the household;


Prevent the attacker from entering the residence, school, business, or place of employment of the victim;


Award the victim or other parent custody of, or visitation with, a minor child or children;


Restrain the attacker from molesting or interfering with minor children in the custody of the victim;


Direct a parent to pay child support;


Direct the defendant to pay certain bills;


Direct the batterer to attend a batterer‘s counseling program.

A Domestic Violence Restraining Order is always free. In many courts Restraining Order Clinics will fill out the forms with you. up arrow to top of page

Restraining Order Clinics:

Los Angeles Superior Court
111 N. Hill St., Dept. 8, Room 245 - (213) 624-3665
Hours: M-F 9:30-11:30 am; 1:30-3:30 pm - Español

Pasadena Superior Court
300 East Walnut St. - (213) 624-3665
Hours: M-F 9:00-11:00 am - Español

West District Superior Court
Main Str., Room 121, Santa Monica - (310) 260-3521
Hours: M-F 8:30-11:00 am - Español

Van Nuys Superior Court
6230 Sylmar Ave., 2nd. Fl.- (818) 896-5211 ext. 106
Hours: M-F 8:30-12:00 am, at back of cafeteria - Español

San Fernando Superior Court
900 3rd Street - (818) 896-5211 ext. 106
Hours: M-F 8:30-12:00 am

Burbank Superior Court
300 East Olive Av. - (818) 896-5211 ext. 106
Hours: M-F 9:00 am - 1:00 pm up arrow to top of page

Obtaining a Restraining Order is a two-step process.

STEP #1:

Request a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) at the Superior Court.

Note: Emergency Protection Orders are available through the Police Department on a 24 hours basis, and are valid for only 5 court days.

Your TRO should be granted the same or next day.

Serve the defendant with a copy of the TRO. Anyone over 18 years of age, except you can hand the Order to the defendant.

Deliver a copy of the TRO, Proof of Service, and Law Enforcement Information form to your local police station. Retain the originals of all documents. up arrow to top of page

STEP #2:

To obtain an order that is valid for 3 years you must return to court in approximately 3 weeks . This order must also be served to the defendant and copies delivered to the police station.

The victim also has a right to file a civil suit for losses suffered as a result of the abuse, including medical expenses, loss of earnings, other expenses for injuries sustained, damage to property, and any other related expenses incurred by the victim or any agency that shelters the victim. up arrow to top of page

Bullet Hotlines & Shelters

A domestic violence hotline for counseling, referrals and assistance can be reached 24 hours, every day. You will not be asked for a name or address and you can remain anonymous.

L. A. Domestic Violence Safety Plan Hotline
1(800) 978-3600

Angel Step Inn, South East L.A.
Español (562) 906-5060

CPAF Shelter
Pacific/Asian languages: Asian-Indian, Cambodian (Khmer), Chinese (Cantonese, Chiu chow, Mandarin, Taiwanese), Filipino (Ilongo, Tagalog), Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Lao, Thai, vietnamese.
Others available as needed.
1(800) 339-3940

Chicana Services
Español (323) 937-1312

East L.A. Shelter
Español (323) 268-7564

El Monte Pathways Shelter
Español (626) 455-0026

1736 Family Crisis Center
South Bay (310) 379-3620

1736 Family Crisis Center
South Central (213) 745-6434

Good Shepherd Shelter
Español (323) 737-6111

Haven Hills
San Fernando Valley, Español (818) 887-6589

Haven House
Pasadena, Español (323) 681-2626

House of Ruth
Pomona, Español (909) 988-5559

Jenesse Center
South L.A., Español (323) 731-6500

Peace & Joy Care Center
Compton, Español (310) 898-3117

Rainbow Services
San Pedro, Español (310) 547-9343

Refugee Safe Haven
Arabic, French, Amheric, Tgrinia, Somali, Italian, Creole, Swahili
(800) 496-2525

Santa Monica, day/evening Español (310) 264-6644

Su Casa
South Bay, day time Español (562) 402-4888

Tamar House
San Fernando Valley (818) 505-0900

Valley Oasis Shelter
Español, Male victims 1(800) 282-4808

West Covina, Español (626) 967-0658

YWCA Crisis Center
Whittier, Expañol (562) 945-3939

YWCA Glendale
Español, Armenian, Farsi (818) 242-1106

San Fernando Valley, Español (818) 838-9283

TDD – Deaf victims
1(800) 660-4026 —
1(800) 787-3224 up arrow to top of page

Bullet Sexual Assault Victims

A sexual assault may be by a stranger or a person known to the victim, including a husband, boyfriend, ex-husband, or ex-boyfriend. Sexual assault is a crime. Victims should notify the police immediately.

A police officer will respond to take a report and collect evidence. Victims should keep all clothing worn during the assault and other evidence such as bed sheets. Officers will transport victims to the hospital for a medical exam to preserve evidence. Victims should not shower or douche before the exam. up arrow to top of page

Rape Hotlines & Rape Crisis Centers

ADVANCE/East L.A. Rape Hotline
Español 1(800) 585-6231

CPAF Hotline
Pacific/Asian languages: Asian-Indian, Cambodian (Khmer), Chinese (Cantonese, Chiu chow, Mandarin, Taiwanese), Filipino (Ilongo, Tagalog), Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Lao, Thai, vietnamese.
Others available as needed.
1(800) 339-3940

Compton YWCA Rape Hotline
Español (310) 764-1403

Español, TDD ...(213) 626-3393 — (310) 392-8381

Long Beach Rape Hotline 
(562) 597-2002

Project Sister
Español (909) 626-4357

Rosa Parks Sexual Assault Center
Español (323) 751-9245

Santa Monica Rape Treatment Center
(310) 319-4503

South Bay Rape Crisis Center
(310) 545-2111

Valley Trauma Rape Ctr.
Santa Clarita, Español (661) 253-0258

Valley Trauma Rape Crisis Ctr.
SFV, Español (818) 886-0453 up arrow to top of page

Other Helpful Resources

City Attorney D. V. Advocate & Unit
Español (213) 485-2352

District Attorney Family Violence Unit
Español(213) 974-7454

LA County Victim Assistance
Español (213) 974-7499

Info Line – Assistance & food programs
1(800) 339-6993

For information about California’s victims’ compensation program, you may contact 1(800) 777-9229 up arrow to top of page


Inside This Page

bullet Criminal proceedings
Victim Information and
  Notification Everyday VINE
bullet Inmate custody
  information from the Los
  Angeles Sheriff's Dpt.
Restraining Orders
Hotlines & Shelters
Sexual assault
Other helpful resources

Useful Links

bullet Police Departments in
  Los Angeles County

Related Stories

bullet Elder Abuse
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This site was first published in April, 2001.

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