SACRAMENTO, April 13, 2020 – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today shared resources to help combat intimate partner violence during COVID-19. While social distancing is crucial to slowing the spread of COVID-19, the statewide stay-at-home order may pose additional challenges or dangers to people experiencing intimate partner violence, which includes physical violence, sexual violence, stalking, or psychological harm. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly one in five women and one in seven men report having experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911.
“During this crisis, we’re all working to do our part to help flatten the curve to keep our communities safe,” said Attorney General Becerra.“That means staying at home and listening to guidance provided by state and local public health officials. Unfortunately, home isn’t always a safe place – that’s why it’s crucial that we all have the tools necessary to protect ourselves and our loved ones. There’s never an excuse for violence against an intimate partner. My office is grateful to all those who continue to work to support survivors of abuse during these trying times. We may be physically apart, but nobody is alone.”
California law offers Domestic Violence Restraining Orders and Gun Violence Restraining Orders. These orders generally prohibit people who pose an imminent, significant danger to themselves or others from possessing or purchasing firearms or ammunition. You can obtain a protective order to protect yourself or your family by calling your local law enforcement agency or by submitting forms to a court. Your county’s court may have additional information on procedures in your area during the statewide stay-at-home order. In light of COVID-19, the California Judicial Council issued temporary emergency rules on April 6, 2020, including an extension of the time frames for specified temporary restraining orders. Information on current guidance for protective orders is available below and from the California Courts:
- Domestic Violence Restraining Orders: An emergency protective order can be requested by a law enforcement officer at any time of day or night. Emergency protective orders generally last for up to seven days to allow for the next step in the process. Under current guidance, emergency protective orders issued during the COVID-19 statewide emergency last for up to 30 days. The subject of the restraining order can be required to leave the home and stay away from the victim if requested in the order. During the period that the emergency order is effective, you may apply for a longer-term restraining order. Judges may issue temporary restraining orders that last up to 90 days during the COVID-19 statewide emergency. Judges may also issue permanent orders that last up to five years. You can also begin the process by submitting forms to a court.
- Gun Violence Restraining Orders: An emergency gun violence restraining order can be requested by a law enforcement officer and generally lasts for up to 21 days. During the COVID-19 statewide emergency, all gun violence orders issued or set to expire will be extended up to 90 days to allow the matter to be heard by the court. The subject of the restraining order is prohibited from possessing or buying a gun or ammunition and must give up any guns or ammunition they possess. During the period that an emergency order is effective, you or a law enforcement officer may request a hearing for a longer-term order. A judge may issue a gun violence restraining order that lasts up to a year. You can also begin the process by submitting forms to a court.
Legal Aid Clinics:
Many legal aid clinics are offering telephone appointments while their physical offices are closed. These clinics provide free or low-cost legal assistance for survivors of intimate partner violence. To find a clinic that works in your region, visit the State Bar for a list of free or low-cost legal aid programs or resources.
Support and Services Information:
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
- https://www.thehotline.org/ (online chat available)
- 1-800-799-7233 (1-800-799-SAFE) | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
- Information on staying safe while sheltering in place
- National Sexual Assault Hotline (RAINN)
- https://rainn.org/ (online chat available)
- 1-800-656-4673 (1-800-656-HOPE)
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ (online chat available)
- 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK) | 1-800-799-4889 (TTY)
- The Victims of Crime Resource Center
- https://1800victims.org/ (online chat available)
- 1-800-842-8467 (1-800-VICTIMS) (call or text)
- Resources such as emergency food and shelter, legal services, and health services can be found on your city or county websites.
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides information on staying safe while sheltering in place.
- The Victims of Crime Resource Center is dedicated to helping victims across the state find necessary resources and learn about their rights.
- The California Victim Compensation Board can help pay bills and expenses that result from violent crime.
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers information on mental health resources.
- The California Department of Justice offers general information and resources to combat sexual violence.
During COVID-19, Attorney General Becerra remains committed to protecting the people of California. Earlier this month, the Attorney General issued a consumer alert on evictions to provide tenants with critical information to preserve their rights. He also called on the federal government to instate a special enrollment period on HealthCare.Gov to help people access healthcare coverage. In March alone, he took a number of actions. He issued several consumer alerts, including one to warn Californians about fraudulent charities during the current public health crisis. He called on Amazon and Whole Foods to step up worker protections by providing paid sick leave that is consistent with guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He urged Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to use her authority to protect student borrowers during the COVID-19 emergency. He also urged the Trump Administration to halt implementation of the “Public Charge” rule, which could undermine public health efforts to combat COVID-19. And, he called on the federal government to cut red tape and increase access to reproductive telehealth care. For the latest on COVID-19 preparedness, please visit https://covid19.ca.gov/.