Domestic Violence

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors that a person uses against an intimate or former partner. The abuser uses fear and intimidation to gain power and control over another person. The abuse can take many forms, including emotional, economic, and sexual abuse and it may involve using children, pets, threats, intimidation, and isolation.

Domestic violence has harmed relationships for centuries and still remains a widespread problem. It affects millions of people annually, mostly women. In the United States, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will be physically assaulted by an intimate partner at some point in their lives. Domestic violence affects people of all ages, ethnicities, cultures, religions, sexual orientations, educational backgrounds, and income levels.

Cases involving domestic violence can be some of the most difficult and sensitive cases with which to work. The lives of victims of this type of assault may be seriously disrupted; often times the victims are forced to “flee” in the middle of the night, leaving behind clothing, identification papers and other personal property.

A victim advocate is assigned for victims and families of domestic violence. The advocate works collaboratively with the many different agencies that provide support, emergency shelters, counseling, guidance with child custody issues, and emergency protective orders.

Signs That You May Be in a Relationship with a Potential Abuser

  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Extreme jealousy
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Threats of violence against you, pets, children, etc. 
  • Controlling behavior, such as insisting you ask permission, tracks your movements, checks your phone, etc.
  • Verbal abuse
  • Making others responsible for his/her hurt feelings/failures
Inside a Victim Services meeting room

How to Support Domestic Violence Victims

  • Let them know that this was not their fault.
  • Make sure they are safe.
  • Help them report the crime.
  • Encourage them to speak with a counselor.
  • Help them create a safety plan.

Why Do Domestic Violence Victims Not Leave?

  • Fear.
  • Lack of resources or support.
  • Hope for the relationship to improve.
  • Cultural or religious beliefs.
  • Children.
  • Financial stresses. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do if I am a victim of Domestic Violence?

Most important is your safety and that of your family. Contact your local law enforcement agency and file a report. Law enforcement will respond to ensure your safety. If he/she is not in custody, they will recommend that you stay with a family member, go to shelter or obtain temporary lodging. 

What happens after I call law enforcement?

After law enforcement finishes their report, it is submitted to the District Attorney’s Office for charging where the assigned attorney will determine if there is sufficient evidence to file criminal charges. Tell the truth and do not minimize the violence and facts of the case.

How do I get a restraining order?

When the officer arrives on the scene, you may request an Emergency Protective Order (EPO) which is good for 5 business days. In order to receive and extended order, please contact NEWS at 707-255-6397 or the self help desk at Napa County Superior Court at 707-299-1137. 

Now that I have this order of protection, am I safe?

An order of protection cannot guarantee your safety; therefore, it is important that you have outlined a safety plan. A victim advocate can assist you with creating a safety assessment outline and review a detailed safety plan for you. They can provide you with names and numbers of appropriate police personnel, community advocates and domestic violence shelters.

Do I qualify for more help?

In some cases, the California Victim Compensation Board may be able to provide you with financial assistance. The Victim Advocate will assist you in filling out the appropriate paperwork and submit. 

What is a Restraining Order?

There are three types of orders:

1. Emergency Protective Order (EPO)

These orders are temporary orders issued by the reporting police agency at the scene of the crime if the defendant is arrested. The order is in effect for 5 business days only.

2. Criminal Protective Order (CPO)

An initial CPO is in effect for 3 years or while the case is pending. Once the case resolves, per 273.5(i) PC, the Deputy District Attorney may request a CPO to be valid for up to 10 years regardless of whether a defendant goes to jail or state prison.

3. Civil Restraining Order (CRO)

You also have the right to file for a Domestic Violence Temporary/Civil Restraining Order also known as a TRO or CRO. This order may be necessary if there are children in common, and if you are seeking child custody or visitation orders.