Elder Abuse FAQs


Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse — Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I want to ask for a restraining order, but the other person does not know my address and I do not want him or her to know. What can I do?

A: You can use a program called Safe at Home. It is run by the California Secretary of State. If you are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, the program gives you a secure address to use for your court papers (or for banking and other things) so that you can keep your address confidential.

Q: Do I need a lawyer for my restraining order case?

A: No. But it is a good idea.

Ask the court clerk about legal services agencies in your county. Click here to find your local court. Many domestic violence agencies will also help with elder or dependent adult abuse restraining orders. Or there may be other free or low-cost legal help for seniors or dependent adults. You can also try to find an agency by:

The clerk can also send you to your court’s family law facilitator or self-help center if either helps with elder or dependent adult abuse restraining orders.

Q: Will I see the restrained person at the court hearing?

A: If the restrained person comes to the hearing, yes. But that person does not have the right to speak to you. If you are afraid, tell the court officer when you arrive at the courtroom. The court officer will make sure you are safe.

Q: Can I get a restraining order if I do not have a green card?

You can still get a restraining order. If you are worried about deportation, talk to an immigration lawyer. Click for help finding a lawyer.

You should be aware of a special provision in the laws governing immigration and naturalization that may apply to you. If your immigration status is dependent on your spouse and you are a victim of domestic violence, you may be able to "self-petition" for legal status under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

You can get more information at:

Q: Someone is asking for a restraining order against me. I do not have a green card. What can I do?

A: You do not need a green card to go to court for your elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order case. They will not report you to immigration. BUT having a restraining order against you may affect your immigration status if you are trying to get legal papers. It is VERY important that you talk to an immigration lawyer. Click for help finding a lawyer.

Q: If I move out of California, what happens to my restraining order?

A: Your restraining order works anywhere in the U.S. If you move out of California, contact your new local police so they will know about your orders.

Q: What if I am deaf or hard-of-hearing and I have to go to court?

 

A: If you are deaf or hard-of-hearing, contact the clerk at least 1 week before the hearing. Click to find your local court. Ask for a sign language interpreter or other accommodation. For more help, read For Persons With Disabilities Requesting Accommodations: Questions and Answers on Rule of Court 1.100 for Court Users.

Q: What if I have to go to court and I do not speak English?

 

A: When you file your papers, tell the clerk you will need an interpreter. If a court interpreter is not available, bring someone to interpret for you. Do not ask a child, a protected person, or a witness to interpret for you. Click for tips on how to use a court interpreter.

Q: What if I have to go to court and I need accommodations because I have a disability?

 

A: If you have a disability, contact the clerk at least 1 week before the hearing to ask for accommodations. Click to find your local court. For more help, read For Persons With Disabilities Requesting Accommodations: Questions and Answers on Rule of Court 1.100 for Court Users.

Q: What if the restrained person does not obey the order?

A: Call the police. The restrained person can be arrested and charged with a crime. Find out more by reading the section of this website Enforce a Restraining Order.

Q: What if there is a restraining order against me but the protected person contacts me?

A: No matter what, you have to follow the court order. The order does not affect the protected person. It only affects what you can do.

Q: My restraining order is about to expire but I still want protection. Is there anything I can do?

A: Yes. You can ask the court to “renew” your restraining order. You will probably have to file a new Request (Form EA-100) and go to a court hearing and explain to the judge why you still want a restraining order in place. The other side has the right to be there too. The judge will make the decision. Follow the directions as if you were asking for a Restraining Order for the first time.

Q: I filed for a restraining order and now I want to drop it. Can I?

A: It depends on where you are at in the court process. If you have a temporary restraining order (TRO) and a court hearing coming up, you cannot “drop” the case. But you could just not show up to the court hearing. If you do not go, the restraining order will be dropped.

If you already have a “permanent” restraining order and you want to dismiss (drop) the case or change the restraining order, you must file papers (a motion) to go to court and ask the judge.

IMPORTANT! Before you try to drop or undo a restraining order, talk to a counselor with experience with abuse and domestic violence. And talk to a lawyer. Depending on the reasons why you want to drop your restraining order, there may be other options that can address your concerns while leaving the protection of the restraining order in place.

If you are feeling pressure by the restrained person to drop the restraining order, it is very important you think very seriously about whether dropping the restraining order will be best for you. If you end up having to refile, you will have to start the process all over again. And there may be other ways for you to deal with these pressures. Talk to a counselor or a lawyer for help in deciding what to do.

Q: What is CLETS?

A: CLETS stands for California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System. It is a statewide computer system that lets police know about the existence of a restraining order, including details on the person protected, the person restrained, and the terms of the restraining order.

Q: I have a restraining order against me and I have to sell my gun. How do I sell it?

A: Look for a licensed gun dealer in your area. Look under “Firearms Dealers” in your local phone book’s Yellow Pages. Make sure the dealer is licensed. You will have to give the court paperwork proving that you sold your gun, and only a licensed gun dealer can help you provide this proof. You can use the form Proof of Firearms Turned In or Sold (Form EA-800) to file proof with the court.

For more information about selling your firearms, read How Do I Turn in or Sell My Firearms? (Form EA-800-INFO).

Q: How do I take my gun to law enforcement?

A: Call your local law enforcement agency to ask about their procedures. Take a copy of the restraining order with you. Go directly to the law enforcement agency. Do not go anywhere else with guns in your vehicle! Make sure your gun is unloaded when you turn it in.

For more information about turning in your firearms, read How Do I Turn in or Sell My Firearms? (Form EA-800-INFO) and Proof of Firearms Turned In or Sold (Form EA-800).

Q: If I turn my gun in to law enforcement, how long will they keep it?

A: They will keep your gun until the court order ends.

Q: After I give my gun to law enforcement, can I change my mind?

A: Yes. You are allowed to make 1 sale. To do this, a licensed gun dealer must give a bill of sale to your local law enforcement agency. The law enforcement agency will give the licensed gun dealer the gun you are selling.

Q: Do I have to pay the law enforcement agency to keep my gun?

A: You may have to pay the agency for keeping your gun. Contact your local law enforcement agency and ask if a fee is charged. After your court order ends, the agency will tell you how much you need to pay.

For more information about selling your firearms, read How Do I Turn in or Sell My Firearms? (Form EA-800-INFO) and Proof of Firearms Turned In or Sold (Form EA-800).

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