What Is Domestic Violence and What Is Domestic Abuse?

When a married person, boyfriend, girlfriend, partner or parents of the same child are in an abusive relationship, they can file a request for a domestic violence restraining order.

California Family Code 6203

California Family Code section 6203 defines abuse in terms of Domestic Violence as:

(a) For purposes of this act, "abuse" means any of the following:

  1. To intentionally or recklessly cause or attempt to cause bodily injury.
  2. Sexual assault.
  3. To place a person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to that person or to another.
  4. To engage in any behavior that has been or could be enjoined pursuant to Section 6320.

(b) Abuse is not limited to the actual infliction of physical injury or assault.

For more information about domestic violence and abuse, reach out to Morales Law, P.C. online or at (805) 422-7966 to request your free consultation.

California Family Code 6320

California Family Code 6320 states the following is abuse that can lead to a domestic violence restraining order:


(a) The court may issue an ex parte order enjoining a party from molesting, attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, sexually assaulting, battering, credibly impersonating as described in Section 528.5 of the Penal Code, falsely personating as described in Section 529 of the Penal Code, harassing, telephoning, including, but not limited to, making annoying telephone calls as described in Section 653m of the Penal Code, destroying personal property, contacting, either directly or indirectly, by mail or otherwise, coming within a specified distance of, or disturbing the peace of the other party, and, in the discretion of the court, on a showing of good cause, of other named family or household members.

(c) As used in this subdivision (a), “disturbing the peace of the other party” refers to conduct that, based on the totality of the circumstances, destroys the mental or emotional calm of the other party. This conduct may be committed directly or indirectly, including through the use of a third party, and by any method or through any means including, but not limited to, telephone, online accounts, text messages, internet-connected devices, or other electronic technologies. This conduct includes, but is not limited to, coercive control, which is a pattern of behavior that in purpose or effect unreasonably interferes with a person’s free will and personal liberty.

Examples of coercive control include, but are not limited to, unreasonably engaging in any of the following:

  1. Isolating the other party from friends, relatives, or other sources of support.
  2. Depriving the other party of basic necessities.
  3. Controlling, regulating, or monitoring the other party’s movements, communications, daily behavior, finances, economic resources, or access to services.
  4. Compelling the other party by force, threat of force, or intimidation, including threats based on actual or suspected immigration status, to engage in conduct from which the other party has a right to abstain or to abstain from conduct in which the other party has a right to engage.
  5. Engaging in reproductive coercion, which consists of control over the reproductive autonomy of another through force, threat of force, or intimidation, and may include, but is not limited to, unreasonably pressuring the other party to become pregnant, deliberately interfering with contraception use or access to reproductive health information, or using coercive tactics to control, or attempt to control, pregnancy outcomes.

Requesting a Court-Issued Restraining Order

If any of this abuse has occurred, a domestic violence restraining order can be ordered by the Court. The restraining order can force the abusive party to move out of a shared home, stay away from a party, a party’s house, work or school, and other related relief.

Additionally, a finding of domestic violence can lead to a parent receiving sole legal and physical custody, as a legal presumption is created that a party who commits abuse should not have joint custody of any shared minor children.

A domestic violence restraining order request, whether you are the abused party or defending against false claims of domestic violence, requires careful planning and a strategic approach to achieve a successful result. Morales Law has extensive trial experience both prosecuting and defending Domestic Violence Restraining Orders and can ensure your matter comes to a successful resolution.

Get in touch with our Santa Barbara firm today for your free initial consultation. We are available online or at (805) 422-7966.