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Domestic violence is a serious issue here in the United States. California law defines domestic violence as physical or verbal abuse that a person has received from someone they share a close relationship with. There are instances in which the abuse may get so bad that a victim feels the need to take additional steps to protect themself from further harm. Many individuals look to take out restraining orders in such situations.

California's Domestic Violence Prevention Act (DVPA) is designed to protect a person and any children they have under the age of 18 from physical or sexual assault, molestation, harassment, stalking and battery. DVPA also protects individuals from being subjected to threatening phone calls or having their personal property destroyed.

The DVPA defines abuse as verbal, sexual, physical or written. Individuals that are subjected to other types of abuse other than these may even qualify to take out a Civil Harassment Order.

You or your minor child must have been the victim of domestic violence from a person that you once were married to or dated or someone that you share a child with if you want to file for a domestic violence restraining order. If you're related to someone by adoption, marriage or blood, then you too may qualify for one of these. If you used to share a close relationship or cohabitate with an individual, then you may be able to take out a restraining order against them as well.

Minors over the age of 12 are eligible to file for a restraining order without the consent of a parent or guardian.

Three types of protection orders exist here in California. There's an emergency protective, restraining or temporary (ex parte) one.

An emergency protective order lasts up to five business days (or seven calendar ones). A temporary restraining order lasts 15 days. Restraining orders can remain in effect for up to five years.

If you or your child have been the victim of domestic violence here in Los Angeles, then you may be able to count on California laws to protect you. Some types of protection or restraining orders may cover you and your children for up to five years. An attorney can let you know which one you may qualify for and help you file for one in your Los Angeles case.

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