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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
Restraining Order Clinics:
Los Angeles Superior Court
Pasadena Superior Court
West District Superior Court
Van Nuys Superior Court
San Fernando Superior Court
Obtaining a Restraining Order is a two-step process.
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.
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.
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
Angel Step Inn, South East L.A.
East L.A. Shelter
El Monte Pathways Shelter
1736 Family Crisis Center
1736 Family Crisis Center
Good Shepherd Shelter
House of Ruth
Peace & Joy Care Center
Refugee Safe Haven
Valley Oasis Shelter
YWCA Crisis Center
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.
Rape Hotlines & Rape Crisis Centers
ADVANCE/East L.A. Rape Hotline
Compton YWCA Rape Hotline
Long Beach Rape Hotline
Rosa Parks Sexual Assault Center
Santa Monica Rape Treatment Center
South Bay Rape Crisis Center
Valley Trauma Rape Ctr.
City Attorney D. V. Advocate & Unit
District Attorney Family Violence Unit
LA County Victim Assistance
Info Line – Assistance & food programs
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Senior Centers |
Long Term Care