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Superior Court of California - County of San Diego: Family & Children: Domestic Violence
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Domestic Violence Restraining Orders

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A restraining order is a court order issued to prevent the recurrence of acts of abuse by a batterer. Under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, abuse is defined as any of the following:
  1. Intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury.
  2. Sexual assault.
  3. Placing a person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to that person or to another.
  4. Engaging in any behavior that has been or could be illegal such as molesting, attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, battering, harassing, destroying personal property, contacting the other by mail, telephone, or otherwise, disturbing the peace of the other party.

To obtain a Domestic Violence Restraining Order you MUST have, or have had, a close personal relationship with the party you are asking to have restrained. Under the law, a relationship is defined as "close" if at least one of the following is true:

  • You are married or were formerly married to the other party.
  • You have or formerly had an engagement or dating relationship with the other party.
  • You and the other party have a child or children together.
  • You are related to the other party by blood, marriage or adoption, e.g., (mother, father, in-laws, siblings, adult children).
  • You and the other party are living together, or formerly lived together, as members of a "household."

The restraining order can include the following: restraints on personal conduct by the batterer; orders for the batterer to stay away from the victim's home/work and/or children's school; orders for the batterer to be removed from the residence; child custody and visitation and support orders and other miscellaneous orders.

How to File for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order

To apply for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order you may obtain a Domestic Violence Restraining Order packet from the business office of the following San Diego County Court locationsBe aware: Packets are NOT available at the main, downtown courthouse, Hall of Justice or Kearny Mesa. Packets are also available here - Domestic Violence - Restraining Order Applicant Packet and  Domestic Violence - Restraining Order with Children Packet.  Please fill out the appropriate forms packet as completely as possible before coming to court. Instructions are included with the packets and forms can be filled out online.

Civil Harassment Restraining Order

A victim who is a target of abuse but does not have the necessary relationship to the batterer may file a civil harassment restraining order. Click here for more information on civil harassment.

To obtain a Civil Harassment Restraining Order packet, visit the Civil business office.

Elder/Dependent Adult Abuse

An elder/dependent adult abuse restraining order applies to a person seeking a protective order who falls within the definition of elder or dependent adult as follows:

A person who is 65 years of age or older (elder) OR a person who is between 18 and 64 years of age and who has mental or physical limitations that prevent them from carrying out their normal activities (dependent adult), who has been a victim of one or more of the following:

Physical, financial, mental or emotional abuse;
Neglect, abandonment, abduction, or isolation;
Treatment that has caused physical harm or pain or mental suffering; OR. Deprived by a caregiver of goods or services needed to avoid harm or suffering.

Can You Answer Yes?

  1. Are you over the age of 60 and being abused?
  2. Is someone physically abusing you or causing you emotional harm?
  3. Is someone who helps you with the daily necessities of life threatening to hurt you?
  4. Is someone who helps you with the daily necessities of life misusing your money?
  5. Is an elder you know being abused?

For assistance on filing an Elder Abuse Restraining Order go to Civil Harassment Restraining Order Clinics.

Elder/Dependent Adult Abuse restraining orders are filed in the Civil Business Office locations of this court.

For a list of forms and additional information on Elder Abuse visit the California Courts Self Help Center website.

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There are domestic violence clinics available throughout the county available to assist you with the preparation of the forms required to obtain a restraining order. Legal services organizations provide the following clinics.

Regional Center Location


4th Floor, Room 417

East County

Family Law Business Office

North County

Adjacent to Civil Business Office

South County
1st Floor

If the domestic violence clinics are unable to serve you, Family Law Facilitators are available at all locations to assist you with paperwork. Assistance is provided on a first come, first served basis and appointments are not available. Be prepared to spend a minimum of one-half of a day to a full day at the court to obtain your restraining order.

There is NO FEE to apply for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order.

Things to bring with you when you complete your Restraining Order paperwork, if available:

  • The address for the person you would like restrained
  • Date of birth for the person you would like restrained
  • Physical description of the person you would like restrained
  • Photographs of any injuries
  • Police report

Topics discussed regarding domestic violence may not be appropriate for minor children. While child care facilities are available at each courthouse, space is limited. If you have minor children, you are encouraged to make other child care arrangements.

What is the "Safe at Home" program?

A victim-survivor of domestic violence may apply for a Safe At Home program, which is run by the Secretary of State's office in California.

The Safe At Home program will give you a substitute mailing address to use on official documents, including:

  • your court papers
  • your driver's license
  • your voter registration papers, and,
  • if you decide to get married while on the program, your address will remain confidential on those documents as well.

Any first-class or government mail sent to you at that address will be forwarded within 48 hours.

  • Any Service of Process delivered to the address also will be passed on to you.
  • If you follow the rules, you can use the address for up to four (4) years.

For more information about enrolling in this no-cost mail forwarding service, call the program toll-free at 1-877-322-5227 or you can go to the California Secretary of State's website.

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Hotline and Important Telephone Numbers to Assist Domestic Violence Victims

San Diego Regional Domestic Violence Resource Guide

San Diego Regional Domestic Violence Phone List

Women's Only Shelters

Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 799-SAFE
(800) 799-7233
Salvation Army-Door of Hope (858) 279-1100
Rachel's Women's Center (619) 696-0873
Center for Community Solutions (888) 385-4657
Battered Women's Hotline (619) 234-3164
Battered Women's Services (Becky's House) (619) 239-0355
Women's Resource Center (760) 757-3500

Men and Women's Shelters

Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 799-SAFE
(800) 799-7233
St. Vincent de Paul (619) 233-8500
Center for Community Solutions (888) 385-4657
South Bay Community Services (800) 640-2933

Legal Services

City Attorney Domestic Violence Unit (619)533-5544
District Attorney Domestic Violence Unit (619) 531-4300
Center for Community Solutions (858) 272-1574
YWCA Legal Advocacy Program (619) 239-0355 x204
Legal Aid Society (877) 534-2524
San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program (619) 235-5656
YWCA San Diego County

(619) 239-2341

San Diego Family Justice Center

(619) 533-6000

The programs listed are not affiliated with the San Diego Superior Court. Each program is independently responsible for compliance with applicable state or federal laws. The Superior Court does not endorse, evaluate, supervise, or monitor these programs.

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