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Home  California  Crime Victims & Domestic Violence

What is Domestic Violence? 

It is one person's use of emotional, physical and/or sexual violence or threat of violence to get and keep control of an intimate partner.  It affects people from all walks of life, regardless of age, race, religious beliefs, educational background, income or sexual preference.

The Cycles Of Violence

    In most domestic violence situations there are three phases.  First there is a tension Building Phase where there is high tension, stress, anger , blaming and arguing between the victim and abuser.  The explosion occurs during the Battering Phase, when the actual violence occurs.  The last part of the cycle is the Honeymoon Phase, where the abuser may deny, minimize, or excuse his actions by apologizing, promising that it will never happen again, and/or buying gifts.  These techniques are used by abusers to keep their victims confused and under their control.

What A Victim Can Do

     You can talk with a friend, neighbor or relative.  You can call a battered women's shelter or program near you.  Most offer telephone counseling, support groups, temporary shelter, legal information and children's programs. 

     You can go to the hospital or doctor to check your injuries.  Most hospitals have a social worker on staff who may be able to help you.  

     You can call the police.  Arresting an abuser significantly reduces the chances he will repeat the offense.  If an arrest is made, you should contact the Victim Services Division of the Attorney General's Office for more information.  Also, you should contact the jail and ask then to notify you when the abuser is released.

    The judge may order the offender to have either "No Contact" or "No Violent Contact" with you as a condition of release on bond.  You may get a copy of the bond conditions from the magistrate judge.  If the offender violates the conditions set by the judge, call the DA's office and 911.  

What Should I Do If I Am A Crime Victim? (CA)
Your rights, the type of damages you can collect and what to do next.

Using The Law To Help You (Consumer-SOS)
Takes you to the subsection "Using The Law To Help You"

National Victims Notification Network
This service allows crime victims to obtain timely and reliable information about criminal cases and the custody status of offenders 24 hours a day. Victims and other concerned citizens can also register to be notified by phone, email or TTY device when an offender's custody status changes. Users can also register through their participating state or county toll-free number.

How To Find Out About Your States Domestic Violence Laws 
Has places to call that will furnish you with this information and other tips on where to look.

Domestic Violence Victims-How To Change Your Social Security #

Helping Someone Through Domestic Violence (Tips & Links)

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  Safety During An Emergency

If an argument seems unavoidable, try to have it in a room or area where you have access to an exit.  If you are being threatened or attacked:

  1. STAY AWAY FROM THE KITCHEN (the abuser can find weapons, like knives there). Keep far from wherever guns are kept.  

  2. STAY AWAY FROM BATHROOMS, closets or small spaces where
     the abuser can trap you.  

  3. GET TO A ROOM WITH A DOOR or window to escape.  

  4. CALL 911 (or your local emergency number) right away for help; get the dispatcher's name.  

  5. Think of a neighbor or friend your can run to for help.

  6. If the police come, tell them what happened and get the officers' names and badge numbers.  

  7. GET MEDICAL HELP if you are hurt.  

  8. TAKE PICTURES of bruises or injuries.  

  9. CALL A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROGRAM OR SHELTER; ask them to help you make a safety plan.

For More See Making A Safety Plan

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Safety When Preparing To Leave

A.   Open a savings account or credit card in your own name to begin establishing your independence.  Think of other ways in which you can increase your independence.

B.   Get your own post office box.  You can privately
     receive checks and letters to begin your own

C.   Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of         important documents, extra medicine and clothes with someone you trust so you can leave quickly.

D.   Determine who would be able to let you stay with them or lend you money.  

E.   Keep the shelter or hotline phone number close at hand and keep some change or a calling card on you at all times for emergency phone calls.  

F.   REMEMBER-LEAVING YOUR BATTERER IS THE MOST DANGEROUS TIME.  Review your safety plan as often as possible in order to plan the safest way to leave your batterer.

For More See Making A Safety Plan

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Protecting Yourself At Home

  1.      Learn where to get help; MEMORIZE EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBERS.  

  2.      KEEP A PHONE in a room you can lock from the inside; if you can, get a cellular phone that you keep with you at all times.

  3.      If the abuser has moved out, CHANGE THE LOCKS ON YOUR DOOR; get locks on the windows.

  4.     PLAN AN ESCAPE ROUTE out of your home; teach it to your children. Think about where you would go if you need to escape.

  5.     ASK YOUR NEIGHBORS and landlord to call the police if they see the abuser at or near your home; make a signal for them to call the police, for example, if the phone rings twice, a shade is pulled down or a light is on.  

  6.     PACK A BAG with important things you'd need if you had to leave quickly; put it in a safe place, or give it to a friend or relative you trust.  Include cash, car keys and important information such as: court papers, passport or birth certificates, medical records and medicines, immigration papers. (See Checklist-What You need To Take When You Leave)


  8.     BLOCK CALLER ID.  


How An Abuser Can Find out About Your Internet Activities

For More See Making A Safety Plan

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Checklist-What You need To Take When You Leave


  • Driver's license

  • Children's birth certificates

  • Your birth certificate

  • Social Security Card

  • Welfare identification



  • Money and/or credit cards

  • Bank books

  • Check books




  • Lease, rental agreement, house deed

  • Car registration + insurance papers

  • Health + life insurance papers

  • Medical records for you and your children

  • School records

  • Work permits/Green card/VISA

  • Passport

  • Divorce papers

  • Custody papers




  • Medications

  • Small sellable objects

  • Jewelry

  • Address book

  • Phone card

  • Pictures of you, children + your abuser

  • Children's small toys

  • Toiletries/diapers

  • Change of clothes for you and your kids

For More See Making A Safety Plan

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Protecting Yourself While In Public

.   Change your regular travel habits.

.     Try to get rides with different people.

.     Shop and bank in a different place.

.   Cancel any bank accounts or credit cards you shared; open up new accounts at a different bank.

.   Keep your court order and emergency numbers with you at all times.

.   Keep a cell phone and program it to 911 (or other emergency number).

For More See Making A Safety Plan

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Protecting Yourself While At Work

A.    Decide who at work you will inform of your situation.  This should include office or building security and your supervisor if appropriate.  If possible, provide a picture of your batterer.    

B.   Keep a copy of your court order at work.  

C.    Arrange to have an answering machine, caller ID, or a trusted friend or relative screen your calls if possible.  Save any voice mail or e-mail messages from your batterer.  

D.   Don't go to lunch alone.  

E.   Devise a safety plan for when you leave the job.  Have someone escort you to your car, bus, or train and wait with you until you are safely on your way.  Use a variety of routes to go home by if possible.  Think about what you would do if something happened while going home (i.e. in your car, on the bus, etc.).  

For More See Making A Safety Plan

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