Domestic violence seems like an easy enough concept to understand, but from a legal standpoint, it can be fairly complex. Certainly, domestic violence is physical abuse or aggression or threats of physical violence, generally within the home or between individuals with a very close relationship. However, domestic violence doesn’t need to be physical – it can also be verbal, emotional or psychological. Some behaviors that constitute domestic violence include physically hurting or trying to hurt someone intentionally, sexual assault, threatening harm or violence, and behaviors like stalking, harassing, and damaging or threatening to damage someone’s property. Essentially, domestic violence occurs any time someone disturbs your peace or makes you feel reasonably afraid that you will be seriously hurt. If you are afraid or feel like have been threatened or you are being controlled by your partner (or someone else you live with or have a close relationship with), you will want to seek out protection as soon as possible.
A restraining order is a protective measure – it is a court order that can prevent your abuser from contacting you, or going near you or your child, your relatives or anyone who lives with you, or going near your pets and property. There are other things that can the court can prohibit an abuser from doing via a restraining order, including ensuring that the party does not have a gun, follows court orders on child custody and visitation, and complete a batterer intervention program.
In California, there is something called a CLETs restraining order. CLET stands for “California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System,” which means that law enforcement is made aware of the restraining order, and if a CLETS restraining order is in place, the party cannot be in possession of a firearm.