Individuals who have been abused can seek a protective order which prevent their abuser from contacting or going near their victims and the victim’s family.|
A domestic violence restraining order can protect a victim from abuse that they may have incurred physically, verbally or in writing.
The order, which is obtained in Kern County Superior Court, can also keep the abuser from having a gun and require he or she move out of the victim's house and follow child custody orders.
A victim of abuse can obtain a restraining order without the help of legal council by they need to know which type of order to apply for. There are three types of restraining orders:
After receiving an application, a judge decides whether to issue a temporary restraining order, which can be made permanent later. This usually takes approximately 24 hours.
Temporary orders last until a court hearing date. At the hearing, a judge can continue or cancel the order. The order can remain in effect for up to three years; child-custody orders last longer.
There is no cost to obtain domestic violence and adult children/elder abuse restraining orders. There is a $219.50 filing fee for a civil harassment protective order but that fee can be waived.
- Domestic violence orders: for when the abuser and abused are related or when they are -- or used to be -- more involved than just roommates.
- Civil harassment orders: for when the abuser is a neighbor, roommate or co-worker.
- Dependent adult/elder abuse: for victims of those types.
Filing forms and instructions are available at Kern County courthouses. In Bakersfield, the Domestic violence orders are at the Family Law Clerk's office, Kern County Superior Court Justice Building, 1st floor, 1215 Truxtun Ave. Civil harassment and adult children/elder abuse orders are at Kern County Superior Court Civil Division Clerk, 1st floor, 1415 Truxtun Ave.
All three types of forms also are available at the Delano, Shafter, Mojave and Lamont courthouses. The Taft courthouse only has civil harassment and adult children/elder abuse restraining order packets. The documents also include instructions for people being restrained.
Steps for filing a restraining order:
- Return completed forms to the appropriate clerk's office, which forwards it to a judge. Check back with the clerk on how the judge ruled.
- Get multiple copies of the approved order and keep one where you live, work and otherwise frequent.
- Note the hearing date.
- "Serve" the restrained person before the hearing. Ask someone you know, a process server or a law enforcement agency to give the order to the restrained person. You cannot serve the documents yourself.
Next Step - The Hearing:
- Bring documents supporting your case, i.e. police or medical reports, photos, bills.
- If you believe the restrained person will lie, bring a witness.
- Do not bring children.
- If you do not speak English, tell the clerk when you file your papers. If a court translator is not available, bring someone other than a child to interpret.
After the Hearing:
Keep a copy of the order and proof of service with you at all times.
Leave copies at places the restrained person is ordered not to go.
Make sure the local Police/Sheriff have a copy.
Call law enforcement immediately if the restrained person violates any of the orders. Write down what happened; get all copies of police reports and medical reports if you're harmed. You can call the police even if you haven't served the order. Give the order to the authorities and have them serve it.
A restraining order can be an effective tool to keep a victim and his or her family safe but will only be effective if they follow all of the steps above.