Abuse of an elder or a dependent adult is abuse of:
The law says elder or dependent adult abuse is:
Read about the law in Welfare and Institutions Code section 15610.07.
If you are an elderly person or a dependent adult being abused in any of these ways or you feel afraid or controlled by a family member, a spouse/partner or former spouse/partner, or a caregiver, it may help you to talk to a counselor, even if you do not want (or are not sure if you want) to ask for legal protection. Find counselors and resources in your county.
You can ask for an elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order if:
It is possible that you may qualify for an elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order AND a domestic violence restraining order (like if the person abusing you is a spouse or partner, or a child or grandchild). If this is your case, talk to a lawyer or legal aid agency to find out what is the best option for you. Your local domestic violence agency or local legal services offices may be able to help you.
If you do not qualify for an elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order, there are other kinds of orders you can ask for:
A restraining order is a court order. It can order the restrained person to:
Once the court issues (makes) a restraining order, it goes into a statewide computer system. This means that law enforcement officers across California can see there is a restraining order in place.
For the person to be restrained, the consequences of having a court order against him or her can be very severe:
If the person to be restrained violates the restraining order, he or she may go to jail, or pay a fine, or both.
Emergency Protective Order (EPO)
An EPO is a type of restraining order that only law enforcement can ask for by calling a judge. Judges are available to issue EPOs 24 hours a day. So a police officer that answers a call because of serious violence or a serious threat can ask a judge for an emergency protective order at any time of the day or night. In elder and dependent adult abuse cases, you can ask for an EPO, but not if the sole abuse you are suffering is financial abuse.
The emergency protective order starts right away and can last up to 7 days. The judge can order the abusive person to leave the home and stay away from the victim for up to a week. That gives the victim of the abuse enough time to go to court to file for a temporary restraining order.
To get a more permanent order, you must ask the court for a temporary restraining order (also called a “TRO”).
Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)
When you go to court to ask for a domestic violence restraining order, you fill out paperwork where you tell the judge everything that has happened and why you need a restraining order. If the judge believes you need protection, he or she will give you a temporary restraining order.
Temporary restraining orders usually last about 20 to 25 days, until your court hearing date.
“Permanent” Restraining Order (Restraining Order After Hearing)
When you go to court for the hearing that was scheduled for your TRO, the judge may issue a “permanent” restraining order. They are not really “permanent” because they usually last up to 5 years.
At the end of those 5 years (or whenever your order runs out), you can ask for a new restraining order so you remain protected.
Criminal Protective Order or “Stay Away” Order
Sometimes, when there is an incident of violence or other elder or dependent adult abuse (or series of incidents), the district attorney will file criminal charges against the abuser.
This starts a criminal court case going. It is common for the criminal court to issue a criminal protective order against the defendant (the person who is committing the violence and abuse) while the criminal case is going on, and, if the defendant is found guilty or pleads guilty, for 3 years after the case is over.
When people ask for an elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order in court, they have to file court forms telling the judge what orders they want and why. What happens after that varies a little from court to court, but the general steps in the court case are:
1. The person wanting protection (or a court-approved guardian or conservator of the protected person) files court forms asking for the restraining order. There is NO fee to file.
2. The judge will decide whether or not to make the order by the next business day. Sometimes the judge decides sooner.
3. If the judge grants (gives) the orders requested, he or she will first make “temporary” orders that only last until the court date. The court date will be on the paperwork. These temporary orders can include issues like:
4. The person asking for protection will have to “serve” the other person with a copy of all the restraining order papers before the court date. This means that someone 18 or older (NOT involved in the case) must hand-deliver a copy of all the papers to the restrained person.
5. The restrained person has the right to file an answer to the restraining order request, explaining his or her side of the story.
6. Both sides go to the court hearing.
7. At the hearing, the judge will decide to continue or cancel the temporary restraining order. If the judge decides to extend the temporary order, the “permanent” order may last for up to 5 years.
Read Asking for a Restraining Order for detailed instructions on how to ask for an elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order.
Read Responding to a Restraining Order for detailed instructions on how to answer a request for an elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order.
You do not need a lawyer to ask for (or respond to) a restraining order. BUT it is a good idea to have a lawyer, especially if you need special assistance of any kind.
The court process can be confusing and intimidating. Both people will have to see each other in court, and both will have to tell the judge details of what happened in a public courtroom. Having a lawyer can help make the process easier to handle.
Click on a topic below for more resources where you can get help:
Most cities or counties have legal aid agencies that help people ask for an elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order. These services are usually free or very low cost. Look for help in your area before you try to do it on your own.
Some places to start are:
It is more difficult to find free or low-cost legal help if you are responding to a request for an elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order. But you should still try since legal aid agencies have different guidelines, and your local bar association may have a volunteer lawyer program that can help you. Click for help finding a lawyer. Your court’s family law facilitator or self-help center may also be able to help you.
For victims of domestic violence
Call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can help you in more than 100 languages. It is free and private.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline links you to the following resources in your community:
The website also provides a lot of information to help you and your children stay safe and get protection.
This site lists help by county, like:
For perpetrators of domestic violence
If you need an “approved” batterer intervention program, contact your county probation department.