Resources for Victims of Domestic Violence in California
Domestic violence is a serious issue that can take many forms and affect people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds.
An estimated 24 people per minute are victimized by intimate partner violence—more than 12 million per year—and about one in three women and one in ten men will experience some form of physical or sexual violence by a partner in their lifetime.
Domestic violence laws in California make it a crime to harm or threaten to harm a current or former spouse, cohabitant, co-parent, dating, or intimate partner.
Protected persons include parents, children, and relatives. While there are numerous laws, the two most common charges are Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC domestic battery and Penal Code 273.5 PC corporal injury on a spouse.
The consequences of a domestic violence conviction can include mandatory minimum jail time, participation in a batterer's intervention program, paying fines and victim restitution, restraining or protective order, and a loss of California gun rights.
While those accused of domestic violence have a right to skilled and compassionate legal representation, many still feel the victims themselves still don't receive enough support. Many cities or counties have restraining order self-help clinics, shelters, or legal aid clinics to help victims for a restraining order.
These agencies typically help with domestic violence restraining orders to protect victims, children, and elder or dependent adults. In some cases, like sexual assault and stalking, they can help victims with civil harassment cases. These services are generally free or low-cost.
To that end, the State of California has numerous resources available to victims of domestic violence and their families.
There are also several nationwide organizations available to help coordinate much-needed support. If you've been victimized by domestic violence, the following resources should help you get the support you need.
California Victims Resource Center
The California Victims Resource Center (CVRC) is an organization that serves as a portal to connect domestic violence victims to services statewide and educate them about their legal rights. They provide comprehensive victim services to survivors of domestic violence and their families.
CVRC connects victims with advocacy organizations, legal assistance programs, courts, law enforcement agencies, counseling centers, and shelters across California.
CVRC operates a statewide hotline, 1-800-VICTIMS, where callers can receive helpful information and referrals to local organizations that can help provide resources related to safety planning, crisis intervention, medical support,
California Partnership to End Domestic Violence
The California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (CPEDV) is a coalition of more than 1000 organizations and advocacy groups nationwide seeking to help domestic violence survivors.
While CPEDV works mainly as an advocacy group on the legislative level, their domestic violence organizations directory is an excellent starting point for victims seeking to connect with domestic violence assistance organizations in their local area.
California Courts: Domestic Violence Help
The California Court system maintains an excellent self-help web page that provides victims of domestic violence and other forms of abuse with information on their legal rights and options, as well as referrals to local organizations, assistance finding a lawyer, help to obtain a protective order, and more, such as the following:
- National Domestic Violence Hotline;
- California Department of Public Health Violence Prevention Resource Directory;
- Family Violence Prevention Fund;
- Law Help California Child Abuse and Neglect;
- Juvenile Dependency (Child Abuse & Neglect);
- Adult Protective Services;
- LawhelpCA.org: Elder Abuse;
- California Partnership to End Domestic Violence
National Network to End Domestic Violence
The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) is a leading advocacy group for victims of domestic violence, providing a network of more than 5000 organizations across the country.
Not only do they provide training and support for the coalitions in all 50 states and U.S. territories, but their website also contains a wealth of resources for domestic violence survivors, including financial abuse toolkits, transactional housing toolkits, and other resources to help survivors regain control of their lives.
WomensLaw.org is a project of the NNEDV mentioned above. This site provides useful legal information for all abuse survivors, including legal information for all 50 states.
The website also includes a state resources page for California, a portal to connect with shelters across the state, find a lawyer, connect with local sheriff's departments, etc.
The name of this website understates its resources because, in addition to connecting survivors to shelters nationwide, this site offers much helpful information for victims and survivors, as well as connections to organizations and programs to support healing and recovery.
Their California resources page connects to 168 local organizations organized by city.
National Domestic Violence Hotline
The National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH, also known simply as The Hotline) is a 24/7 national hotline for victims, survivors, family members, friends, and allies seeking confidential support and information about domestic violence.
Domestic violence survivors can also opt to chat or text for help. In addition, NDVH offers crisis intervention services and referrals to local organizations that can provide additional assistance.
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) is a national organization dedicated to providing education, support services, and advocacy for victims of domestic violence. NCADV provides resources such as helplines and online chats, safety plans, information about legal rights, and a directory of local organizations offering assistance.
Coming Soon: Project Opal
The previous two organizations named above (NCADV and NDVH) have recently announced a joint venture between them called Project Opal, in which the two organizations will pool their resources to provide unmatched support without either organization losing their autonomy.
According to their FAQ: Project Opal is the joining together of the National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) toward a bold vision for the future that can change the landscape for survivors in ways we cannot effectively perform as two separate organizations.
NCADV and The Hotline will pioneer uniting efforts to institute a national ecosystem of holistic and inclusive services, policy, education, and resources for survivors of domestic violence AND the advocates who work closely with them.