If you have suffered from an act of domestic violence OR if you have been threatened with such an act, you can seek a restraining order against the offender. But what constitutes domestic violence under California law? While domestic violence can take many forms, the common thread is that a relationship of "intimate partner" must exist - or it can be a former intimate partner, in order for it to count as domestic violence.
An intimate partner can be a spouse, fiancé, serious dating partner, or romantic live-in partner. The other parent of your child would also count as an intimate partner, regardless of other factors. Common forms of domestic violence include: domestic battery, infliction of corporal
injury on a spouse, stalking, issuing criminal threats, revenge porn, and posting of harmful information online.
But restraining orders are not limited to domestic abuse situations alone. After all, it's entirely possible that someone you know but are not romantically involved with or even a total stranger could issue threats or perpetrate abuse of some kind. This is "civil harassment" as opposed to domestic violence.
Civil harassment can also take numerous forms, including stalking, criminal threats, sexual assault, or harassment online, via texts, or by telephone. But a "credible threat" to your safety has to exist in the opinion of the court, or else a threat to the safety of a family member. There must be a willful act of the guilty party, which would make any reasonable person fear for his/her safety.
You can seek a civil restraining order against a neighbor, friend, relative (but not immediate or close family member), acquaintance, or a roommate. Note that if you ever dated someone, then you would have to get a domestic violence restraining order against that person instead.
Elder Abuse & Workplace Violence Restraining Orders
Those 65 and older, along with dependent adults, can still file domestic violence or civil harassment restraining orders just like anyone else. However, there is also a special elder abuse restraining order that is designed for this type of situation and may help the elderly get more help and protection overall throughout the process. Those between 18 and 64 who are dependent for basic care on others and those 65 and above can apply for this type of protective order.
If you are harassed in the workplace in a way that qualifies for a civil harassment or domestic violence protective order, you can file either of those. However, employers can also file what is known as a "workplace violence restraining order" to protect their employee who is being stalked, threatened, or harassed. This is commonly done when an incident occurs on the work site or if the employer fears the offender may show up at the work place to commit violence.