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Civil Harassment Restraining Orders

What is a Civil Harassment Restraining Order?

Under California law (Code of Civil Procedure §527.6), a person who has suffered harassment may seek a temporary restraining order and an injunction prohibiting harassment.
Civil Harassment Restraining Orders differ from Family Law Domestic Violence Restraining Orders in that the person doing the harassing has no close family or domestic relationship with the victim. For example, a Civil Harassment Restraining Order applies to a neighbor, roommate or stranger. A Domestic Violence Restraining Order is filed in the Family Court and applies to a current or former: husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend or other relative.
You may seek protection if you are worried about your safety because you are being:

  • Stalked
  • Threatened,
  • Harassed, or
  • Sexually assaulted. 

Pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure § 527.6(b), the course of conduct must be such as would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress and must actually cause substantial emotional distress to the victim.

The restraining order can include preventing personal conduct by the harasser, order the harasser to stay away from the victim, the victim's family, the victim's home/work and/or children's school, and other miscellaneous orders.


What is an Elder/Dependent Adult Abuse Restraining Order

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:

Under California law (Welfare & Institutions Code §15657.03), 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.

If you can answer "yes" to one or more of the questions below, you may wish to seek an elder/dependent abuse restraining order.

  1. Are you 65 years of age or older and being abused?
  2. Are you between the ages of 18 and 64, and have a mental or physical condition that prevents your from carrying out your normal activities?
  3. Is someone physically abusing you or causing you emotional harm?
  4. Is someone who helps you with the daily necessities of life threatening to hurt you?
  5. Is someone who helps you with the daily necessities of life misusing your money?
  6. Is an elder you know being abused?


What is a Gun Violence Restraining Order?

Under California law (Penal Code §18150), an immediate family member, employer, coworker, employee or teacher of a secondary or postsecondary school, or law enforcement agency may seek an order prohibiting an individual who poses a significant danger of personal injury to himself, herself or another from controlling, owning, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm, ammunition, or magazine.


What is a Workplace Violence Restraining Order?

Under California law (Code of Civil Procedure §527.8), an employer whose employee has suffered unlawful violence or a credible threat of violence from any individual may seek an order and injunction prohibiting harassment.


Civil Harassment Restraining Order Clinic

Operated by Legal Aid Society of San Diego, this clinic offers assistance to self-represented litigants to explain procedures and to help them prepare forms. Clients are seen in the order of arrival and no phone calls are allowed. Click here for locations and schedule. 

Operated by San Diego Volunteer Lawyers Program, this clinic offers assistance to self-represented litigants to explain procedures and to help them prepare forms. Click here for locations and schedule.

Where do I file my forms?

Civil Harassment, Elder/Dependent Adult Abuse, Gun Violence, and Workplace Violence Temporary Restraining Orders may be filed at the following locations:
To find the proper court location, click here.

Court Location Telephone Number
Hall of Justice
330 W. Broadway, Room 225
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 450-7275
East County Regional Center
250 East Main Street
El Cajon, California 92020
(619) 456-4100
North County Regional Center
325 South Melrose
Vista, California 92081
Civil Business Office - 1st Floor
(760) 201-8600
South County Regional Center
500 3rd Avenue, 3rd Floor
Chula Vista, California 91910
(619) 746-6200

Note: Domestic Violence Temporary Restraining Orders may be obtained at the Family Court Division closest to you.
East: 250 E. Main Street, El Cajon, CA 92020
South: 500 Third Avenue, Chula Vista, CA 91910
North: 325 S. Melrose Drive, Vista, CA 92081
Central: 1100 Union Street, San Diego, CA 92101

Is there a fee to file a restraining order?

There will be a filing fee unless otherwise ordered by the court. Refer to Ref #1 in the fee schedule.

Note: There is no filing fee for Gun Violence Restraining Orders.

What forms are needed to file a restraining order?

Be advised that additional paperwork may be required based on specific location policies.

When will I get my temporary restraining order?

In most instances, if your request for a temporary restraining order is granted, you will receive your temporary restraining order the same day.

How do I serve (officially notify) the respondent?

It is the responsibility of the petitioner to have the respondent personally served with all necessary documents as instructed by the clerk.  Proof of service for the respondent must be filed with the court prior to or at the time of the hearing on restraining order.

The party can be served by:

  • The Sheriff's Department of the county where the respondent lives or works
  • Anyone over the age of 18 years old and not a party named in the case

For more information, visit our Serving Documents page.

Mediation Services for Civil Harassment Restraining Orders

In the Central, East or South County Divisions, the National Conflict Resolution Center may be able to provide mediation services without any cost to you or the other party.

For more information, please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions for Civil Harassment Mediation.

How do I respond to a restraining order?

If a restraining order was filed against you, you may respond by completing and filing the appropriate packet below: