Domestic Violence During COVID-19
One consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic may be an increase in domestic violence. The combination of enforced isolation with family members, health concerns, and financial worries due to losses in income, has the potential to cause a spike in family abuse. Even more worrisome, quarantine conditions may be making it more difficult for people experiencing domestic violence to reach out for help. For example, it may be difficult to find the privacy needed to make a call.
One of the most powerful tools that can be used to stop domestic violence is a Domestic Violence Temporary Restraining Order (DVTRO). A restraining order is a court order issued to prevent the recurrence of acts of abuse by a batterer. Abuse may include causing or attempting to cause bodily injury, sexual assault, and/or engaging in stalking, threatening, harassing, or disturbing a person’s peace, among other behaviors.
It is important to know that while San Diego Superior Court is currently closed for most services due to the pandemic, it is open to individuals filing for DVTROs.
To obtain a DVTRO, you must have a close personal relationship with the party you are asking to have restrained. You are considered to have a close personal relationship if you are married, if you have or formerly had an engagement or dating relationship with the other party, if you and the other party have a child together, if you live together as members of a household, or you are related to the other party by blood, marriage, or adoption.
The restraining order can include orders for the batterer to stay away from the victim’s home/work and/or the children’s school; orders for the batterer to be removed from the residence; child custody and visitation orders; and support orders, among others.
The San Diego County District Attorney has compiled a list of resources for people experiencing domestic violence, as well as dealing with other issues as a result of the pandemic. You can find it here:
Jeanne Murray is an Associate in our San Diego office of Borton Petrini, LLP specializing in Family Law.
Legal Disclaimer: Please be informed that legislation and laws are rapidly developing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the legal analysis that is being provided is based on the analysis of the current legislation and current agency guidance, as it stands at this moment. Additional legislation and/or changes to current legislation may impact the information being given herein. This article is designed for general information only. The information presented should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.