IF YOU OR YOUR CHILDREN ARE IN DANGER NOW OR YOU HAVE BEEN HARMED BY YOUR PARTNER, FORMER PARTNER OR PARENT OF YOUR CHILD, CALL 911.
Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological and includes tactics such as intimidation, isolation, manipulation, and threats to inflict harm.
"Domestic and family violence is a fact of life in too many homes across Los Angeles. We can and will do more to break this cycle of violence and stand up for victims and help protect them." - Mike Feuer, LA City Attorney
If you are in need of emergency shelter, support services or someone to talk to, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TDD 800-787-3224. The hotline is free, available 24/7, and confidential. Staff can help you in numerous languages and direct you to services and/or a local shelter, the location of which is kept confidential.
The City Attorney’s Office provides resources for victims of crime via our Victims Assistance Program.
If you are between the ages of 13-18 and need support services or someone to talk to about teen dating violence, chat live at Love Is Respect, text "loveis" to 77054, or call 866-331-9474; TDD 866-331-8453. All calls are free and confidential.
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- Computer use can be monitored and it is very difficult to completely clear all website footprints. If you are in danger, please use a safe computer that your abuser cannot access directly or remotely.
- Email is not a safe way to talk to someone about the abuse in your life.
- There are hundreds of ways to record everything you do on the computer and sites that you access on the internet.
- If you think your activities are being monitored, they probably are. Use a computer at a public library, a trusted friend's house or a computer lab to access resources and information. Any indication that you're planning on leaving your situation could increase your danger.
- It is not possible to delete or clear all computer information for footprints. Erasing or deleting files and/or history could also alert your abusive partner or ex-partner and possibly increase your danger.
- Spyware can be installed easily on a computer and smart phone and it is hard to detect. Every key stroke, text message, conversation and GPS location can be seen and heard by someone monitoring you.
Visit Technology Safety for more tips and resources for online safety.
Enacted in California in 2008, Marsy's Law is the Victim's Bill of Rights. It provides all victims of crime and their families with rights and due process.
The myPlan app is a customized assessment tool that provides resources, support, and safety planning to anyone in an abusive relationship.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE FAQs AND MORE INFORMATION:
How Does a Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Case Move Through the Criminal Justice System?
The City Attorney’s Office receives domestic violence cases from LAPD. When cases are brought forward, a deputy city attorney reviews the police report and additional evidence to determine whether there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime has occurred. Depending upon his or her review, the City Attorney’s Office may or may not file a criminal case against the person who was arrested. It is important to understand that the victim of a crime does not make the decision about whether or not to file a case. This office has a "No-Drop Policy," meaning that the victim is not able to drop charges in a family violence case. The No-Drop Policy relieves the victim of any undue pressure to drop charges and holds abusers accountable for their crimes.
The police may arrest the suspect and hold him or her in jail for 48 hours or until they can post bail. Even if the police arrests a suspect, they may be released from jail sooner than 48 hours.
If criminal charges are filed, the person arrested – now called the defendant – is brought to court by the sheriff if in custody or ordered to appear in court if not in custody. At the arraignment, the defendant may plead guilty (admitting the charges), no contest (not fighting the charges) or not guilty. If the defendant pleads not guilty, the judge sets dates for a pre-trial hearing and a trial. At arraignment, the victim of a domestic violence crime can get an order from the court ordering the defendant to stay away from them and/or their children. This is called a Criminal Protective Order (a "CPO").
The case will be called in this courtroom for a pre-trial hearing. The defendant may plead guilty or no contest at this time or the case may proceed to trial.
If the defendant does not admit the offense by pleading guilty or no contest, the case goes to trial, usually before a jury. At trial, witnesses, and maybe the defendant, will testify. As the victim of domestic violence, you will likely be called to testify. If you do not speak English, the Court will provide an interpreter for you. If you have been served with a subpoena or ordered by the Judge, you must appear in court on the date and time indicated. After all the evidence has been submitted, the jury will decide if the prosecution has proven the case beyond a reasonable doubt. The majority of cases do not go all the way to trial.
The judge will determine the sentence, including whether to send the defendant to jail. As the victim, you have the right to come to court and share information with the judge that you feel may be helpful for sentencing.
If formal criminal charges are not filed against the person arrested, the City Attorney’s Office may hold a hearing which aims to strengthen the safety and security of victims of family violence and their children by providing an effective alternative to prosecution. If the case is set for a hearing, both the person arrested and the victim will receive a letter informing them of when and where it will be held. At the hearing, a Hearing Officer will review the case, educate the parties about the law and provide resources and referrals as needed.
What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?
A misdemeanor is a crime that is punishable by up to one year in county jail. Crimes that are punishable by death or imprisonment in the state prison are felonies. California also has crimes called “wobblers” which can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor.
What is the difference between the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office and the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office?
While both offices prosecute crimes, there are two important differences. First, the Office of L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer prosecutes crimes within the city limits of L.A., whereas the Office of L.A. District Attorney Jackie Lacey prosecutes crimes that occur throughout the county. The City Attorney’s Office prosecutes misdemeanor offenses only. Felony offenses are prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office.
What kinds of crimes are considered domestic violence crimes?
California Penal Code Section 273.5 deals directly with injuries caused by an intimate partner; however, there are many other crimes that occur when violence enters an intimate relationship. For example, Penal Code section 243(e)(1) [Battery against an intimate partner]; Penal Code Section 646.9 [Stalking]; Penal Code Section 245 [Assault with a Deadly Weapon]; Penal Code Section 602 [Trespass]; Penal Code Section 459 [Burglary]; Penal Code Section 594 [Vandalism]; Penal Code Section 273.6 [Violation of a Domestic Violence Protective Order].
Do I have to be the victim of domestic violence to call a hotline?
No. Domestic violence hotlines can help family members and friends of domestic violence victims.
What if the only time they hit me is when they’re drinking or doing drugs? What if all they need is to go to a program?
Alcohol and drugs may be present during episodes of domestic violence but that is not an excuse. Domestic violence is a crime whether they are using or not.