Domestic Violence

California’s court system handles thousands of cases each year involving domestic violence (sometimes referred to as “family” or “intimate partner” violence). Some of those cases are handled in the criminal court system, while others proceed through the family or juvenile court system. Information on domestic violence for those case types can be found below. Resources for vicitms and litigants are available on the California Courts Self-Help Center which includes court forms, instructions, and information about restraining orders and other court processes.



Criminal Law Cases
Family Law Cases

Learn more about domestic violence in family law cases. If your case involves children, learn more about custody and visitation.

Juvenile Law Cases

Some families experiencing domestic violence will become involved with the juvenile court. If the county child protective services (CPS) agency investigates allegations and a court determines that a child is at risk of harm in the home, the court may make the child a dependent of the court. Learn more about juvenile dependency court. If a child breaks the law or is beyond parental control, the county probation office may investigate and the child may be involved with juvenile delinquency court. Learn more about juvenile delinquency court.

The Center for Families, Children & the Courts (CFCC) provides programs and education to address cases involving domestic violence in California in a variety of ways, including providing specialized resources for the courts; developing rules, forms, and legislation; offering education to judicial officers and court professionals; and disseminating research and publications.


Education

CFCC organizes training and educational programs which focus on how courts and court-connected professionals address domestic and family violence. Materials from some past conferences and trainings can be found here. Specific efforts include providing regular trainings for mediators, child custody recommending counselors, evaluators, investigators, court clerks, and judicial officers several times throughout the year. These trainings offer valuable information on domestic violence and promote best practices throughout the state. Technical assistance is provided to courts that are developing procedures for handling domestic violence cases. 

Family and juvenile dependency mediators and child custody evaluators must handle cases involving domestic violence according to state laws and rules of court and must have local protocols consistent with statutory requirement and statewide rules. Learn more.

Violence Against Women Education Project (VAWEP)

The VAWEP provides the courts with information, educational materials, and training on the court’s role in responding to these cases. VAWEP is funded by the California Emergency Management Agency with resources from the federal Office on Violence Against Women to support the superior courts in creating a more effective response to cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and teen dating violence.   

Violence Against Women Education Project Fact Sheet
VAWEP Annual Report.

Projects

Domestic Violence Family Law Interpreter Project
The AOC provides funding to support the use of interpreters in proceedings where domestic violence or elder abuse protective orders have been issued or are being sought and in cases filed under the Family Code, generally where one party does not sufficiently understand English.

Domestic Violence Safety Partnership
The Domestic Violence Safety Partnership (DVSP) was developed to enhance safety and improve practices and protocols in the handling of domestic violence cases. A court that participates in the DVSP uses the Domestic Violence Safety Partnership Self-Assessment—a tool furnished by the Judicial Council—to examine its own practices and needs in the handling of domestic violence cases, especially in relation to legal mandates. The court may then seek technical assistance from the Judicial Council.

Leadership Group
The California Statewide Leadership Group on Domestic Violence and Child Well-being is a voluntary affiliation of governmental and nonprofit organizations that offer a broad spectrum of services and supports for families with the co-occurring challenges of domestic violence and child maltreatment. Membership includes leaders from juvenile and family courts; law enforcement agencies; and agencies and organizations that address child welfare, domestic violence, public health, emergency services, alcohol and drug abuse, and mental health at the state and local levels.

Rules, Forms, and Legislation

The Judicial Council of California is responsible for developing statewide rules of court, court forms, and legislation relevant to court administration. Each of these areas may involve domestic violence issues. To review current and recent proposals, please click on the relevant link below:
Recent Proposals

To review rules of court, court forms, and court-related legislation, please click on the relevant link below.  If you are interested in domestic violence specifically, please search within these sections for “domestic violence.”
Statewide Rules of Court
Forms
Court-Related Legislation

Site Map | Careers | Contact Us | Accessibility | Public Access to Records | Terms of Use | Privacy