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Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Issues

Call 911 if in immediate danger!

Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors where one partner tries to maintain control of the other through the use of physical force, intimidation and threats.

Court Public Service Announcement

Click below to view a Public Service Announcement about Domestic Violence Issues that is part of a series developed through a grant provided by the Administrative Office of the Courts. The series entitled, "Meet the Court," is intended to provide you with quick information and education about Family Court Services, and has been developed in both English and Spanish.

Click to language version you wish to play. All files less than 2.5MB in size.

Domestic Violence Issues: English / Español

What is Domestic Violence?

The abuse can take many different forms:
Physical Kicking, punching, shoving, slapping, pushing, burning, biting, choking or kicking.
Sexual Forced or pressured sexual acts, criticizing his/her body parts and rape (even if married).
Emotional Excessive jealousy, crazy making, mind games, isolation from friends and family, making the victim feel worthless and threats.
Verbal Name calling and put-downs.
Spiritual Attacking the victim's spiritual or religious beliefs or misquoting scripture to justify abuse.
Financial Controlling the victim's economic status and basic needs, withholding money and prohibiting the victim to work.
Destructive Acts Destruction of victim's property, vandalism and harming or killing pets.
Homophobic Threatening to "out" the victim's sexual orientation.
Immigration Using fear of deportation.

In California, domestic violence is a crime. Criminal code section 273.5 requires criminal penalties including jail or prison and participation in a 52 week batterer's treatment program. To meet the criteria for arrest under 273.5 the partners must be married, living together, or have a child in common and the victim must have visible injuries.

Power and Control

There is also a civil code section under the Domestic Violence Protection Act. This civil code protects partners who are in dating relationships or same sex relationships. In some cases, no visible injuries have to be observed by an officer to warrant an arrest.

domestic violence power and control

Domestic Violence is about power and control over another person. It is not a problem with anger. Rarely do you see an abuser act violently with friends, coworkers or a boss. It is a Jeckyl and Hyde personality that confuses others who learn of a person's violence with their partners. Abusers can act charming, loving and attentive...when they want to. Drinking, drugs, genetics, the victim's behavior or stress does not cause domestic violence. It is learned behavior. It is learned in the home by observation and reinforcement before the age of 10. Domestic Violence happens in all races, religions and socio-economic groups.

Cycle of Violence

An abusive relationship is not abusive at all times. It follows a three-phase cycle known as The Cycle of Violence.

cycle of domestic violence

A relationship starts in the honeymoon phase. Over time, tension starts building. Usually when the abuser feels that the victim is sufficiently "hooked" into the relationship, either through marriage, moving in together or getting pregnant, the abuse starts. The honeymoon phase is what "hooks" the victim back into the relationship and keeps the cycle moving. Over time the cycle reduces to just tension/abuse and the episodes of violence get more frequent and severe.

Characteristics of Victims

  • Found in all socio-economic, educational, racial and age groups.
  • Many battered women report violence in family of origin.
  • Many report marrying young to escape violent homes.
  • Many, but not all, witnessed some form of abuse as children.
  • Low self-esteem. Question their right to have any better life than they presently have.
  • Underestimate themselves and believe they cannot do better.
  • Feel powerless and believe they have no choices.
  • Hopeless and immobilized by the abuser taking control and have lost the ability to make independent decisions and changes.
  • Depression, suicide, substance abuse and psychosomatic illnesses are behaviors observed with victims.
  • Lack of trust due to history of isolation and feelings of helplessness.
  • Chronic apprehension. Agitation and anxiety about routine decisions.
  • Unable to relax, disturbed sleeping patterns, always on guard.
  • Peacekeepers. Trying to keep the home calm.
  • Take blame.
  • Feel guilty because they disturb neighbors; their children have problems and feel they are responsible for the abuse.
  • Usually female, although not always.
  • Caregivers. Desire to nurture, rescue and take care of others.

Characteristics of Abusers

  • Found in all socio-economic, educational, racial and age groups.
  • Generational history of family violence.
  • Is a witness for mistreatment and disrespect for women.
  • Poor impulse control.
  • Emotional dependency.
  • Limited capacity for delayed gratification.
  • Insatiable ego needs.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Perception of self as having poor social skills; describes relationship with victims as the closest they have ever known.
  • Jealous. Has great fear of being abandoned or cheated on.
  • Desire to isolate partner.
  • Lacks awareness of others' personal boundaries.
  • Believe that his forcible behavior is his responsibility and obligation to the good of the family.
  • Apparently feels no guilt on an emotional level, even after recognition of abusive episodes.
  • Usually male, although not always.

Understanding Why Victims Stay

  • Victim fears they will be beaten more severely if they try to leave, abusers often threaten to find and kill or harm the victim and their families.
  • Victim depends on the batterer for food, shelter, economic security, immigration status, or other necessities.
  • Victims believe they will have no one to talk to, understand or believes in them.
  • Victims believe their children need two parents, and do not want to raise them alone.
  • The victim wants to keep the family together and live up to a religious commitment to remain with their partner.
  • The victim does not believe they can take care of themselves or their children alone.
  • Victims want to be loyal to the relationship and stand by their partner.
  • The victim believes the abuser's promises to change or get help.
  • The abuser has threatened to commit suicide if the victim leaves.
  • Victims believe that no one else will want them.
  • The victim rationalizes that things could be worse with someone else.
  • The victim is ashamed of the situation and believes that others will think negatively of them.
  • Victims believe others will think they are low-class or stupid for being involved in an abusive relationship.
  • They believe they must be in a relationship to be a complete person.
  • They fear deportation.
  • They fear being "outed".
  • They believe it is their job to make the relationship work.
  • They believe they can save the abuser and help them get better.

Victims often leave their abusers an average of five to seven times before they are able to leave permanently. The victim is in greater danger when they decide to leave. Only the victim can decide what is best for them and their children. It is important to recognize that they are the experts in their relationship, not an outsider. Never tell a victim "Just leave him/her". The victim must develop a safety plan. They will know when it will be the best time to leave.

The Effects of Domestic Violence on Children

Children who live in homes where abuse occurs are also the victims of the violence. They may be injured by an act of violence, they feel helpless, blame themselves for not preventing the violence, or for causing it, and also may be abused or neglected.

The children experience high levels of anxiety, experience symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and experience difficulties in school. Children living in violent homes are more likely to be truant, act out and behave violently. Violence is a learned behavior.

Behavioral Characteristics:

  • Bed-wetting
  • Nail-biting
  • Thumb-sucking
  • Self mutilation
  • Anxiety
  • Head aches
  • Tummy Aches

Emotional Injuries:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Fearful
  • Insecure
  • Delayed emotional development
  • Lack of Bonding
  • Depression
  • Feelings of Guilt

Teen Relationship Abuse

It is estimated that abuse is involved in 28% of teen dating relationships. Teen Relationship Abuse and Adult Domestic Violence have some of the same characteristics. They both are based in an increase in controlling behaviors, the abuser uses power and control to keep them in the relationship, the abuse becomes more severe when the victim tries to end the relationship, and both follow the Cycle of Violence.

There are also some unique characteristics of Teen Relationship Abuse:
  • Teens naturally isolate themselves from adults and may believe that spending all your time with your partner is what you do when you are in love.
  • Teens lack experience with intimate relationships; and may not have information about what makes a relationship healthy. Further, they may have witnessed violence between their parents.
  • Teens may believe jealousy and control are signs of love.
  • Physical violence happens as often, if not more often than in adult relationships. The physical violence sometimes turns into "mutual combat" situations.
  • Teens are reluctant to seek help because they do not want to put their newly acquired independence at risk.
  • There is a great deal of peer pressure to be "with" someone. Being in a relationship gives teens social status. 
teen power control

Dating Bill of Rights and Responsibilities

Every teenager has certain rights and responsibilities in a Dating relationship

Your Rights:

  • To refuse a date without feeling guilty.
  • To say no to physical closeness.
  • To end a relationship.
  • To have an equal relationship.
  • To have friends other than your dating partner.
  • To participate in activities that do not include your partner.
  • To have your own feelings and be able to express them.
  • To set limits - to say yes or no as you choose.
  • To have your limits, values, feelings and beliefs respected.
  • To say "I Love You" without having sex.
  • To be heard.
  • To be yourself, even if it is different from everyone else or from what others want you to be.

Your Responsibilities:

  • To ask for a date and accept no for an answer.
  • To determine your limits and values.
  • To respect the limits, values, feelings, and beliefs of others.
  • To communicate clearly and honestly.
  • To ask for help when you need it.
  • To be considerate.
  • To check your actions and decisions to determine whether they are good or bad for you.

If your dating partner has slapped, pushed or threatened you, it is important to take it seriously. It means that they are trying to control you, and there is a good chance it will get worse if you do not do something about it. If you are in an abusive relationship, a good first step is to reach out and get help.

Domestic Violence: The Crime

Call 911 if in immediate danger!

If You Call The Police

  • Call 911 and tell them you are in danger or injured.
  • After the officer arrives note the time, date and the name of the officer you talked with. Ask the officer for the case number.
  • If you told one officer about the incident, but another officer writes the report, make sure you tell the reporting officer all the details.
  • Go to the emergency room and have the doctor or nurse document the abuse and report it to the police, if it has not already been reported.
  • You can get a copy of the police report for yourself.
  • If the report has errors or is incomplete, you may request that a corrected report be written.
  • If bruises or injuries show up after the report was written, go to the law enforcement headquarters where the report was written and ask for pictures to be taken.

If Felony Charges Are Filed

  • Once the batterer is in custody, the Arraignment will be held within two court days. If the batterer has been released from custody, the Arraignment will be held within 5 court days.
  • At the Arraignment, a Preliminary Hearing will be set to take place within 5 court days.
  • At the Preliminary Hearing the batterer may plead guilty or no contest, or you may be required to testify before the judge. When you receive a subpoena, you must come to court.
  • If the batterer pleads guilty or no contest, the sentencing will take place in four weeks.
  • If the batterer pleads not guilty, then you may be required to testify before the judge.
  • If, at the Preliminary Hearing the accused is ordered to stand trial, the case will be transferred to Superior Court for arraignment two weeks later.
  • At the Trial Confirmation the accused may plead guilty or no contest, or the case will be confirmed for trial.
  • If the accused pleads guilty or no contest, the sentencing will be set four weeks later.
  • If confirmed for trial, you as the victim will be required to testify in Superior Court before a judge and/or jury. When you receive a subpoena, you must come to court.

If Misdemeanor Charges Are Filed

  • Once the batterer has been arrested, the first court appearance is the Arraignment. If the batterer is in custody, the Arraignment will be held within two court days. If the batterer has been released from custody, the Arraignment will be held within 45 days.
  • At the Arraignment the batterer is notified of the charges. The batterer may or may not plead guilty or no contest at this time.
  • If the batterer pleads guilty or no contest sentencing will usually take place at this time.
  • If the batterer pleads not guilty, a Jury Motion Hearing is set two to three weeks later.
  • If at the Jury Motion Hearing the batterer pleads guilty or no contest, sentencing will usually be that day.
  • If the batterer pleads not guilty, a trial date will be set. As the victim, you will be required to attend the trial and testify.

If An Arrest Is Not Made

  • If the officer is unable to make an arrest, and the batterer is present at the scene, you may make a citizen's arrest. The officer will help you do this.
  • If an arrest could not be made because the batterer has left the scene, the law enforcement agency may seek a complaint (warrant) through the District Attorney's Office. After the arrest warrant is issued, the batterer will be arrested when found. You will be notified when you need to come to court.
  • If no complaint is requested by the law enforcement agency, you as the victim may contact the District Attorney's Office and ask to speak to the Complaint Resolution Specialist. They will locate your police report, review it, and if appropriate, prepare a complaint for filing.
  • The District Attorney's Office may file felony or misdemeanor charges depending on the facts of your case. In some cases, there may not be enough evidence to warrant a complaint.
  • You may contact the District Attorney's Office at 488-3141 or the Fresno Superior Court at 457-2000 to find out court dates. During this call ask for your case number for all future inquires.

If You Feel You Are In Danger

Call 911 if in immediate danger!

  • You may request an Emergency Protective Order (EPO) from the law enforcement officer who has responded to the scene.
  • The police officer calls the judge and explains your situation.
  • The judge may grant a restraint on conduct, stay away, move out and/or a temporary child custody order.
  • The order will be valid for only 5 court days.
  • You will need to file for and obtain a permanent restraining order from the court within those 5 court days.

Victim/Witness Assistance Program

  • As a victim of a crime you may be eligible for assistance from this government program.
  • Upon request, an advocate can assist victims during court appearances.
  • You must cooperate with law enforcement and the District Attorney.
  • The program may be able to help you file a claim for financial assistance for recovery of your medical and counseling expenses, wage loss or support (If these expenses are related to the crime).
  • The program may also be able to provide support and guidance through the court process, give referrals to local resources and services, and possibly help with your emergency needs after the crime.
  • You can contact the Victim/Witness Assistance Program at 488-3425.

What is a Domestic Violence Restraining Order?

A domestic violence restraining order is a protective order issued under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act. This act was passed to protect victims of domestic violence.

A person is eligible for a restraining order, which can last up to three years if they had a relationship with their abuser that fits one of the following categories:

  • Relative
  • Relative by marriage
  • Dating
  • Living together
  • Children in common

A victim can obtain an order which prevents the abuser from contacting the abused party by any means including physical contact, physical violence, threats, third party contacts, telephone calls and harassment. The victim can also protect members of their household and immediate family from abuse by adding them to the order.

The victim can obtain a stay away order which prevents the abuser from coming within 100 yards from the victim and other protected parties. The victim can also obtain an order allowing them to remain in their home pending further court action, or keep property such as a car, which allows the victim to care for their children or get to work. The victim can also obtain child custody and child support orders with the order.

Forms are available on the first floor, in the Family Law Facilitator’s Office of the B.F. Sisk Courthouse, 1130 “O” Street; as well as on the second floor in the Family Law Clerk’s Office. You may also request forms via email at: There are three local agencies to assist with filling out restraining orders if you are eligible based on your income. You may also contact a paralegal or lawyer to help you fill out the forms.

Central California Legal Services, Inc.
2115 Kern St., Suite 1
Fresno, CA 93721
(559) 570-1200
Centro La Familia Advocacy
302 Fresno St., Suite 102
Fresno, CA 93706
(559) 237-2961
Marjaree Mason Center Fresno
(559) 233-HELP

Domestic Violence Restraining Order Flowchart

Domestic violence flow chart

Timeline for Domestic Violence Restraining Order

  1. Submission of paperwork to Fresno Superior Court.
  2. Judge signs or returns rejected paperwork with explanation.
    • If judge signs; you must have paperwork served on abuser by a non-involved party over the age of 18 or the Fresno Sheriff's Office.
    • If judge rejects you can resubmit with corrections (Go back to step one)
  3. Get proof of service from Sheriff's Office or person doing the service if service is completed on time (at least 5 days before hearing). If unable to serve, send in reissuance and try to locate and serve.
  4. Submit proof of service to court.
  5. At your hearing request a permanent restraining order.
    • If the order is continued, temporary orders will stay in effect.
    • If children are involved the court may order mediation.
  6. The Court will provide you with five certified copies of your Restraining Order After Hearing.
  7. Mediation (see below)
    • Orientation appointment
    • Actual Mediation appointment
    • Mediator makes recommendation to the court. Each party gets a copy.
  8. Second Hearing
    • Again request that the order be made permanent.
    • If you do not agree with the Mediator's recommendation, it is best to object at the hearing. The court may allow an objection period.
  9. Additional Hearings
    • Only if custody (see below) and visitation issues become complicated. 

Safety Planning

Identify a Safe Area in Your House

  • Install inside locks on a door.
  • Plan barricades.
  • Choose a room with a window.
  • Have a telephone in that room - get a cordless phone.
  • Arrange a signal for help with a neighbor.
  • Teach your children how to call 911.
  • Remove weapons from home.
  • If you feel an abusive episode is inevitable, move towards your safe area. Stay away from the kitchen (where the knives are kept) and stay out of rooms with no windows for escape, like the bathroom.

Find a Safe Shelter and Know How You Will Get to It

  • Make transportation arrangements with a friend or family member.
  • Call ahead to notify them of your situation.

Document the Abuse

  • Keep a journal (make sure it is hidden).
  • Get photos taken of damage to yourself/property.
  • Get medical attention and have them document the abuse.
  • Show the injuries to a friend.
  • Make copies of bills for damage to property.
  • Make copies of hospital/counseling bills.

Keep Identification/Important Papers

  • Drivers license.
  • Social security cards (yours and your children's).
  • Birth certificates, immunization records.
  • Immigration Papers.
  • Rent receipts or mortgage papers.
  • Social services papers.
  • Utility receipts.
  • Prescriptions.
  • Car title and registration.
  • Tax records.
  • Bank statements.
  • Address book.

Have Money and Keys

  • Start hiding some cash for yourself (a good place for females is in your tampon box).
  • Open your own bank account.
  • Save pay-stubs.
  • Car/house keys and safety deposit box/postal keys.

Pack a Suitcase

  • Shoes/socks
  • Underwear
  • Nightwear
  • Change of Clothes
  • Toiletries
  • Prescription drugs
  • Kid's clothing and favorite toys
  • Diapers
  • Treasured possessions (pictures, keepsakes)
  • Hide the suitcase in the car, under a bed, at a neighbor's, at church, in the garage or in a public locker.

When You Leave

  • Try to leave while your abuser is not home, or ask the police for help. Do not worry about being fair or giving the abuser the benefit of the doubt-Protect yourself and your children.
  • Try to take your children with you, but if you cannot, do not assume you will lose custody because of abandonment. Leaving because of abuse is legitimate. Get legal assistance about parental rights as soon as possible. If you feel your children are in danger, contact child protective services or the police immediately.

Important Things to Remember

  • You are not to blame.
  • You did not cause the abuse.
  • You are not alone.
  • Help is available.

More on Safety Planning

Lethality assessment is the attempt to identify the circumstances when a batterer is most dangerous by evaluating the batterer's beliefs and patterns of violence, coercion, and control. The following information was developed by Barbara J. Hart, Esq. In Assessing Whether Batterer's Will Kill. The assessment looks at a number of predictors. The underlying assumption is the higher the number of predictors, the higher the potential for the batterer to commit a homicide or engage in potentially lethal behaviors.

Predictors of Lethality Include:

  • Threats of suicide or homicide including killing himself, the victim, children or relatives.
  • Fantasies of homicide or suicide in the guise of fantasizing "who, how, when and/or where to kill."
  • Weapons owned by the perpetrator who has threatened to used them or has used them in the past (the use of guns is a strong predictor of homicide).
  • Feelings of "ownership" of the victim.
  • "Centrality" to the victim (idolizing and extreme dependence).
  • Separation from the victim (this is an extremely dangerous time when perpetrators make the decision to kill).
  • Dangerous behavior increases in degree with little regard for legal or social consequences.
  • Hostage-taking
  • Depression
  • Repeated calls to the police.

Lethality assessments are more an art than a science and cannot be considered precise by any means. They are not a tool for certain prediction, but rather one for risk assessment and safety planning or intervention. Social service providers should error on the side of caution and inform their clients that any abuser can potentially be lethal.

Birth Certificates
To obtain a copy of your birth certificate or the birth certificates of your children, contact Fresno County online and obtain  an Application for Certified Copy of Birth Record, follow the instructions on the application and when done mail it and a check for $25.00 to the address on the form. You can also obtain the birth certificate online through Vitalchek, the county’s online records provider. Vitalchek takes credit cards whereas the county does not. If you were not born in Fresno County, go online to the county clerk or state where you were born and follow their instructions. To help you, the clerk will need the following: 
•    The full name of the person whom the records are being obtained
•    Father’s full name.
•    Mother’s maiden name.
•    Place of birth.
•    Date of birth.
In Fresno County a certified copy of a birth certificate costs $25.00. You can pay with a check, cashier’s check or money order. Fresno County does not accept phone, fax or email records requests. 

Marriage License
•    Full names of the bride and groom.
•    Residence address at the time of the marriage.
•    Ages at the time of marriage.
•    Date of the marriage (month, day, and year).
•    Relationship to the person whose record is being requested. 
To obtain a copy of your marriage birth certificate,, contact Fresno County online and obtain  an Application for Certified Copy of Marriage Record, follow the instructions on the application and when done mail it and a check for $15.00 to the address on the form. You can also obtain the marriage certificate online through Vitalchek, the county’s online records provider. If you were not married in Fresno County, go online to the county clerk or state where you were married and follow their instructions. 

Divorce Records
If the divorce happened in Fresno County, the Fresno Superior Court will have a record of it. You will need to look up your divorce on the court’s online service Odyssey on their website to get the case number and the names of the husband and wife, then call the Fresno Superior Court – Family Law Clerk at (559) 457-2100 for instructions on how to obtain the actual records. 

Medi-Cal or Managed Care Cards 
You can replace your Medi-Cal or Managed Care cards by contacting your provider. In Fresno County there are two providers
Blue Cross of California Medi-Cal Managed Care: 1-800-407-4627
Health Net Medi-Cal Managed Care: 1-800-675-6110

Medi-Cal/Food Stamp Cards
If you do not participate in the managed care option, you must contact your caseworkers at Fresno County Human Services System. You can also contact the Rapid Service Unit Hotline at 559-453-3787 or 559-453-3788. 

Social Security Cards 
Replacing your card is easy with “my Social Security.” 
You can request a replacement Social Security number card online if you:

Still have questions?
If you have questions or need help understanding how to request your replacement Social Security card online, call their toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 or visit your Social Security office. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, call their toll-free TTY number, 1-800-325-0778, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Medicare Card
Your Medicare card is proof of your Medicare insurance. If your Medicare card was lost, stilen, or destroyed, you can ask for a replacement by using your online mySocial Security ( account. If you need your Medicare Number, please visit ( account. 
If you cannot or prefer not to use the online service, you can call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227 TTY 1-877-486-2048) 

WIC ID card
Option for contacting WIC:
Driver’s License/ California ID card     
DMV offers a variety of Online Services that makes completing your DMV business easy and efficient. Visit
Please Note, DMV will continue to add more online services.

Under California law a mandated reporter must report willful child endangerment or the willful infliction of physical pain or mental suffering on a child. In the context of domestic violence, a mandated reporter must consider whether there is a risk of physical or emotional harm to the child. The fact that a child's parent or guardian has been the victim of domestic violence is not in and of itself a sufficient basis for reporting suspected child abuse or neglect. Further, a child's exposure to a domestic violence incident in and of itself is not a sufficient basis for reporting. Other factors must exist which lead the mandated reporter to reasonably suspect that the child's physical or emotional health is endangered as the result of domestic violence. A mandated reporter must report suspected child abuse or neglect to Child Protective Services in the following domestic violence cases:

A domestic violence incident which caused physical injury to the child or created a serious risk of injury to the child.

Factors to consider in determining whether a domestic violence incident created serious risk of physical injury include:

  • Were objects thrown or broken in the presence of the child?
  • Did the perpetrator threaten to harm the child?
  • Did the perpetrator strike a victim who was holding a child?
  • Did the child physically intervene in the violence?
  • Did the perpetrator threaten to murder or commit suicide?
  • Did the perpetrator threaten the victim with a gun, knife or weapon?
  • Did the perpetrator choke or strangle the victim?
  • Did the perpetrator hurt the family pet?

A domestic violence incident which caused serious emotional damage to the child or created a substantial risk of serious damage to the child.

Serious emotional damage in the context of child protection law means the child exhibits severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal, and aggressive behavior toward self or others as a result of the conduct of a parent. Further, a report should also be made if the victim is incapable of providing for the child's treatment or care for the emotional damage caused by domestic violence or is unable to protect the child from repeated exposure to domestic violence.

Only certain occupations are considered mandated to report domestic violence. Any health practitioner employed in a health facility, clinic, physician's office, local or state public health department who, within the scope of their employment provides medical services for a physical condition to a patient of whom they know or reasonably suspects of being a victim of domestic violence must report to the local law enforcement agency.

If you are a health practitioner and are aware of a domestic violence situation, a report by telephone is to be made immediately or as soon as practically possible. Additionally, a written report must be prepared on the standard form and sent to the local law enforcement agency within 2 days.

California Labor code provides guaranteed time off from work for victims of domestic violence to go to court or obtain services. These laws known collectively as the "Victims of Domestic Violence Leave Act" were enacted to address the impact of domestic violence on the workplace. These laws prohibit employers from discriminating or retaliating against domestic violence victims who take time off from work to seek judicial remedies, such as restraining orders, domestic violence related services such as medical or psychological counseling or escaping to a shelter program.

Steps for Supervisors and Co-Workers to Respond to Domestic Violence in the Workplace


  • Don't tell the victim what they should do.
  • Don't ask the victim what they did to deserve the abuse.
  • Don't ask the victim what is wrong with them.
  • Don't ask why they stay.

Do's if the Victim is not Talking About The Abuse

  • Tell them you are concerned.
  • Ask the victim if everything is all right.
  • Give the victim an unmarked or marked card with a 24-hour crisis number.

Do's if The Victim is Talking About The Abuse

  • Be a good listener. Just listen.
  • Ask the victim what they would like to do for themselves.
  • Ask the victim if there is anything you can do for them.

  • If you have a domestic violence restraining order or emergency protective order (EPO), submit a recent photograph of your abuser and a copy of the protection order to your supervisor, the legal department and chief of security.
  • Obtain a civil protection order. Make sure that is current and on hand at all times. Include the workplace on the order.
  • Provide a picture of the perpetrator to reception areas and/or security.
  • Notify your supervisor of the situation.
  • Identify an emergency person should your employer be unable to contact you.
  • Review the safety of your parking arrangements.
  • Have a security person walk you to and from your vehicle.
  • Request a change or work site, job assignment or work schedule.
  • Request all information about yourself to be kept confidential.
  • If possible, have your telephone calls screened.
  • Access your Employee Assistance Program.
  • Document all incidents that occur with the batterer.

Contact Resources and Services 

24 Hour Hotlines

Marjaree Mason Center: (559) 233-4357(HELP)
National Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799-7233 (SAFE)
Adult Protective Services: (559) 255-3383
CPS Warm Line (Child Abuse): (559) 255-8320
Mom's and Kid's Hotline: (800) 640-0333

Rape Counseling Service:

(559) 222-7273


Marjaree Mason Center: (559) 233-4357(HELP)
Evangel Home: (559) 264-4714
Fresno Rescue Mission: (559) 268-0839
Holy Cross Center for Women: (559) 442-4108
Noemi's House: (559) 443-1531

Law Enforcement 

Emergency: 911
Clovis Police Department: (559) 324-2400
Coalinga Police Department: (559) 935-1525
Firebaugh Police Department: (559) 659-3051
Fowler Police Department: (559) 834-3254
Fresno Police Department: (559) 621-7000
Fresno County Sheriff's Office: (559) 488-3131
Huron Police Department: (559) 945-2348
Kerman Police Department: (559) 846-6633
Kingsburg Police Department: (559) 897-2931
Parlier Police Department: (559) 646-6600
Reedley Police Department: (559) 637-4250
Sanger Police Department: (559) 875-8521
Selma Police Department: (559) 896-2525

Legal Assistance 

Marjaree Mason Center: (559) 233-4357(HELP)
Attorney Referral & Information Service: (559) 264-0137
Central California Legal Services: (559) 570-1200
Centro La Familia: (559) 237-2961
Domestic Violence Network (Huron): (559) 945-1022

Treatment and Counseling 

Marjaree Mason Center: (559) 233-4357(HELP)
Adult Mental Health: (559) 453-4099
California School of Professional Psychology: (559) 253-2277
Central Valley Indian Health: (559) 299-2634
Children's Mental Health: (559) 445-3225
Children's Services Network: (559) 456-1100
Comprehensive Youth Services: (559) 229-3591
Northwest Family Crisis Center: (559) 225-3222
Rape Counseling Service: (559) 497-2900
Spirit of Women: (559) 244-4353

Victim's Services 

Victim Witness Assistance Program: (559) 600-2822
Victim Advocates Fresno Police: (559) 621-2233
Victim Advocates Fresno Sheriff's: (559) 488-3953

Safety Planning

Marjaree Mason Center: (559) 233-4357(HELP)

Replacing Important Documents

Blue Cross Medi-Cal Managed Care: (800) 407-4627
DMV Clovis: (800) 777-0133
DMV Fresno - Olive: (800) 777-0133
DMV Fresno - Blackstone: (800) 777-0133
El Concilio Immigration Project: (559) 485-0679
Fresno County Clerk: (559) 488-3428
Fresno County Family Law Clerk: (559) 457-2100
Fresno County HSS Rapid Service: (559) 453-3787
Health Net Medi-Cal Managed Care: (800) 675-6110
INS Document Replacement: (559) 487-5091
Medicare Card: (800) 772-1213
Office of the State Registrar for Social Security: (800) 772-1213
Vital Statistics: (916) 445-2684
WIC ID Card: (559) 263-1150

Domestic Violence in the Workplace

California Labor Commissioner: (559) 248-8400
Department of Fair Employment: (559) 244-4760 or (800) 884-1684
Fresno County Bar ARIS: (559) 264-0137

 Domestic Violence and Immigration

California Latino Civil Rights Network: (800) 821-8077
Catholic Charities: (559) 264-0851
Central California Legal Services: (559) 570-1200
Centro La Familia: (559) 237-2961
El Concilio Immigration Project: (559) 485-0678
Fresno County Bar ARIS: (559) 264-0137

Other Important Numbers

District Attorney's Office: (559) 488-3141
Fresno Council on Child Abuse Prevention: (559) 226-2651
Fresno Jail Inmate Information: (559) 488-3031
Fresno Superior Court Family Law: (559) 457-2100
Fresno Superior Court, Criminal: (559) 457-1801
VINE (Will notify you one hour before inmate's release): (800) 491-5170

Rural Services

Domestic Violence Network of Huron: (559) 945-1022

Domestic Violence Information & FAQ

When parents do not live together, custody means who is responsible for the children. When a parent has physical custody over a child, it means the child would spend time living with that parent on a regular basis. If the parents have joint physical custody the child lives at each parent's home. However, if one parent has sole physical custody, the child spends significantly less time at the other parent's house.

If a parent has sole legal custody of a child, it means that he or she has the right to make decisions regarding the child's health, education and welfare, such as what school or doctor shall be used. Joint legal custody means both parents share the decisions.

If parents agree on a custody plan, the judge will usually approve it. If the parents cannot agree on a custody plan, they will have to speak with a mediator or counselor who will help them work out a plan. The judge will decide any disputed issues that parents are unable to resolve during mediation.

It is a process of dispute resolution. California law mandates Mediation in every case where custody or visitation is contested. The purpose of Mediation is to reduce the conflict and to develop an agreement assuring the children's close and continuing contact with both parents after the separation. The mediator is appointed by the court and must meet various educational qualifications prescribed by law.

If the two parents cannot reach an agreement as to custody and visitation, the mediator may make suggestions to the court as to a temporary disposition pending a full trial. Mediation is not an adversary proceeding. When a decision must be made, the court will make the decision, not the mediator.

The reason for Mediation is to help parents share the rights and responsibilities in such a way that the best interests of the child will not be jeopardized. Mediation helps parents to focus on the needs of the children.

If someone is a victim of domestic violence and his or her legal status in the United States is tied to the abuser, it is important to know:

  • Some victims will not leave the abuser because they fear being deported. The threat of deportation is real, however the victim's safety is the primary issue.
  • A victim of domestic violence is entitled to receive emergency medical care regardless of immigration status.
  • A crime victim is not required to give his/her immigration status to the police.
  • It is important to speak to a lawyer because many things can change the legal citizenship status of the abused victim. His/her situation could change through divorce or separation.

Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the spouses and children of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents may self-petition to obtain lawful permanent residency. The immigration provisions of VAWA allow certain battered immigrants to file for immigration relief without the abuser's assistance or knowledge, in order to seek safety and independence from the abuse.

Basic Requirements

  • Must be legally married to the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident batterer. A self-petition may be filed if the marriage was terminated by the abusive spouse's death within the two year prior to filing. A self-petition may also be filed if the marriage to the abusive spouse was terminated within two years prior to filing because of abuse.
  • Must have been battered in the U.S. unless the abusive spouse is an employee of the U.S. government or a member of the uniformed services of the U.S.
  • Must have been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty during the marriage, or must be the parent of a child who was battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse during the marriage.
  • Is required to be a person of good moral character.
  • Must have entered into the marriage in good faith, not solely for the purpose of obtaining immigration benefits.

To self-petition, you must complete and file USCIS Form I-360 and include all supporting documentation. Self-petitions are filed with the Vermont Service Center and should be sent by certified return receipt mail (or any other method providing assurance of receipt). Sending the form to any other USCIS office will delay your application. You should keep a copy of everything you submit, including the application and all accompanying documents, in addition to proof of mailing.

Forms are available in person at the local USCIS Fresno Sub Office, 865 Fulton Mall, Fresno or by calling 1-800-870-3676.

Although self-petition provisions for victims of domestic violence are contained in the Violence Against Women Act, they apply equally to victims of either sex.

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