Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence (DV) is a pattern of abusive behaviors through the use of power and control tactics used by one person over another in an intimate relationship. Partners may be dating, married or not married; separated; heterosexual, gay, lesbian, living together or not living together. 

Key topics:

  • What is Domestic Violence?
  • Restraining Orders
  • Children & Domestic Violence
  • Teen Dating and Violence
  • LGBTQ Domestic Violence
  • Immigrant Survivors & Domestic Violence
  • Women with Disabilities & Domestic Violence
  • Deaf Women & Domestic Violence
  • Housing & Domestic Violence
  • Employment & Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence


Domestic Violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors through the use of power and control tactics used by one person over another in an intimate relationship. Partners may be dating, married or not married; separated; heterosexual, gay, lesbian, living together or not living together. Such abusive behaviors can become cycles of violence that include pushing, shoving, slapping, throwing objects; choking, isolating you from your loved ones; being called names and threatening to hurt you.

Domestic violence can happen to anyone, crossing all boundaries of culture, age, race, sex, education, and socioeconomic status. No one deserves to be abused, no matter what the circumstances.

Is your relationship based on power and control?
Are there repeatitive cycles of violence?
Is there equality?

Power & Control

The following is a diagram illustrating tactics used by abusers to assert their power and control over a victim of domestic violence. These examples do not happen to everyone who is a survivor but these are actions that might be used over a period of time.

Cycle of Violence

The following diagram illustrates the cycle of a domestic violence relationship, starting with verbal and emotional abuse and may escalate through physical and/or sexual abuse.


The following is a diagram that illustrates characteristics of a healthy relationship.

Relationship Quiz

Are you in a healthy relationship? Does the person you love:

  • Put you down by calling you names and make you feel bad about yourself?
  • Frighten or threaten you?
  • Control what you do, who you see or talk to, or where you go?
  • Want to know where you are every single minute?
  • Believe that you belong to him/her?
  • Stop you from seeing or talking to friends or family?
  • Hit, kick, shove, punch, slap, restrain, or otherwise hurt you?
  • Make all the decisions?
  • Take your money or make you ask for money or refuse to give you money?
  • Repeatedly call to check up on you when you are not with him?
  • Act extremely jealous?
  • Repeatedly accuse you of cheating or flirting with others?
  • Threaten to take away or hurt your children?
  • Act like the abuse is no big deal, it’s your fault or even deny doing it?
  • Destroy your property or threaten to kill or hurt your pets?
  • Force you to drop charges?
  • Threaten to commit suicide?

If you have checked any of the boxes above, you may be in an abusive relationship. Please call  your local domestic violence center to talk with someone the The Hotline below.

National Domestic Violence Hotline

Phone: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233),
Phone: 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

Myths & Realities of DV

Myth: Domestic violence does not happen very often.
Reality: Battering is very common. It is one of the most under-reported crimes. It is also the leading cause of injury to women. A woman is physically abused by a partner every 15 seconds in the United States.

Myth: Women who stay in abusive relationships are “asking” for it.
Reality: It is a myth that survivors do not leave abusive relationships. Actually, a survivor leaves an average of 6-8 times and each time she leaves the violence can often escalate. Women who leave their abuser are at higher risk (75% greater risk) of being killed than those who stay. Either staying or leaving the abusive relationship poses risks to her safety. A survivor who stays in the relationship oftentimes is strategizing the best time and safest time to leave. Domestic violence can also cause women and children to become homeless.

Myth: Alcohol/drugs causes battering.
Reality: While there may be many cases of domestic violence that involve the use of drugs/alcohol, it does NOT cause battering.
The use of drugs/alcohol is often used as an excuse for the abuse. Many abusers do not use alcohol/drugs and there are many who abuse drugs/alcohol who are not abusive. Domestic violence is a choice and preventing someone to use alcohol/drugs will not necessarily stop the abuse. Counseling for drugs or alcohol problems will not stop the problem of domestic violence.

Myth: Abusers cannot change their behavior and will always abuse.
Reality: Domestic violence is a learned behavior and can be unlearned if the abuser takes responsibility and accountability for the violence committed. People who abuse often have learned this behavior, and it will take time to undo and learn new ways of solving problems or coping with stress.

Myth: Many survivors feel they deserve the abuse.
Reality: There are many survivors who feel this way, and they need to understand that no one deserves to be abused and they are not alone. Oftentimes abusers attempt to make survivors feel guilty, lowering their self-esteem by saying negative things about them that are untrue. Domestic violence is a choice and batterers must be accountable for their actions. (

Myth: Children who grow up in abusive homes won’t be affected, especially if they are still so young.
Reality: Children who growing up witnessing abuse may grow up learning that it is normal and may become batterers or victims in their adult relationships. Children may be abused or neglected while the mother deals with the trauma of the abuse. Many children who are exposed to the violence may also grow up blaming themselves for the abuse and for not being able to stop it.

Statistics on Domestic Violence
  • A woman in the United States is physically abused every 15 seconds
  • 1 out of 4 women are beaten by their spouses or partners at some point in their lives
  • 4,000 women are killed each year as a result of domestic abuse; in Alameda County between 2001 and 2005, women comprised 72% of the victims in domestic violence-related deaths (ACPHD, 2007)[1]
  • It is estimated that approximately 70% of men who abuse their partners also abuse their children
  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women in the United States between the ages of 15-44 years old
  • Domestic violence is often committed by a husband or boyfriend
  • Domestic abuse is one of the most under-reported crimes against women, and nearly half of violent crimes against women are never reported to the police
  • One in 3 teens report knowing a friend who has been in a dating violence relationship, been hit, choked, kicked or physically hurt or threatened by their partner
  • One in 20 elderly people experience elder abuse yearly
  • Domestic violence occurs in approximately 30% to 40% of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans-gender relationships, which is the same percentage of violence that occurs in heterosexual relationships.

[1] Alameda County Public Health Department. (2007).
Data Update of A Profile of Family Violence In Alameda County: A Call for Action.

Why It May Be Hard To Leave

If you have been coping with abuse for a long time, it can be hard to finally stand up and leave. Here are some reasons why it may be difficult to leave:

Fear of losing children.
Your partner threatens to take the kids away if you leave

Fear of harm.
You fear that if you do leave, the threats of physical harm will get worse (including threats to family members and children).

You love your partner, and believe and hope things will get better

You minimize the abuse and tell yourself things are really not that bad

Economic dependence.
Lack of financial resources or few choices and support for living independently

Fear of not being able to survive.
You fear that the abuser will find you and might retaliate by harming you or the kids

Negative impact on children.
You believe that children should be raised with two parents and not just one

Fear of being alone.
You fear of being without a mate or partner; coping with children and/or life alone. You may also believe that no one else could want you (and your kids)

You made a commitment and feel responsible to keep the family together

You fear of embarrassment and humiliation and are fearful that someone will know

Rescue complex.
You believe you can change your partner if you stay with him

Low self-esteem.
Your partner has convinced you that you deserve the abuse and, if you leave, you would not find anyone who would love you

Immigration status.
You may be threatened that you will be deported

You have a disability that does not allow you to work and are financially dependent on your abuser for assistance

Fear of partner suicide.
Your partner threatens to commit suicide if you leave

Male privilege.
If you partner is male, he may believe that men should control the household by enforcing the rules and constantly make demands of you for sex, food, etc.

Fear of unknown.
You fear of change and fear of not knowing what to expect

Substance abuse.
You may use alcohol or drugs to cope with the abuse and numb the pain, and as a result you may tolerate the abuse

You believe you made a commitment to God to keep the family together

Lack of support.
You feel pressure from family and friends to stay

Planning For Your Safety

Leaving an abusive situation is often the most dangerous time for a survivor. It is important to talk with someone who can help strategize with you about your specific situation prior to your decision to leave. Once you have created your safety plan, teach it to your children and practice with them. Share your plan with a trusted close friend or family member so that they know what to do in case you might need their help.

Remember, it is encouraged that you speak to an advocate about your safety plan. Below are some things to consider if your spouse or partner threatens or abuses you. These safety suggestions have been compiled from safety plans distributed by state domestic violence coalitions from around the country.

Following these suggestions is not a guarantee of safety, but could help to improve your safety situation.

Personal Safety with an Abuser

  • Identify your partner’s use and level of force so that you can assess danger to you and your children before it occurs.
  • Try to avoid an abusive situation by leaving.
  • Identify safe areas of the house where there are no weapons and where there are always ways to escape. If arguments occur, try to move to those areas.
  • Don’t run to where the children are as your partner may hurt them as well.
  • If violence is unavoidable, make yourself a small target; dive into a corner and curl up into a ball with your face protected and arms around each side of your head, fingers entwined.
  • If possible, have a phone accessible at all times and know the numbers to call for help. Know where the nearest pay phone is located. Know your local battered women’s shelter number. Don’t be afraid to call the police.
  • Let trusted friends and neighbors know of your situation and develop a plan and visual signal for when you need help.
  • Have a code word with friends or family that means you need help.
  • Teach your children how to get help. Instruct them not to get involved in the violence between you and your partner. Plan a code word to signal to them that they should get help or leave the house.
  • Tell your children that violence is never right, even when someone they love is being violent. Tell them that neither you nor they are at fault or cause the violence, and that when anyone is being violent, it is important to keep safe.
  • Practice how to get out safely. Practice with your children.
  • Plan for what you will do if your children tell your partner of your plan, or if your partner otherwise finds out about your plan.
  • Keep weapons like guns and knives locked up and as inaccessible as possible.
  • Make a habit of backing the car into the driveway and keeping it fueled. Keep the driver’s door unlocked and the other doors locked for a quick escape.
  • Try not to wear scarves or long jewelry that could be used to strangle you.
  • Create several plausible reasons for leaving the house at different times of the day or night. Call a domestic violence hotline periodically to assess your options and get a supportive, understanding ear.
  • If your abuser is technology savvy, get help from a DV agency to help ensure your phone calls, computer use and other forms of electronic communication are safe.

Created by K.Siu, 2005.

Getting Ready To Leave
  • Keep any evidence of physical abuse, such as pictures, etc.
  • Know where you can go to get help; tell someone what is happening to you.
  • If you are injured, go to a doctor or an emergency room and report what happened to you. Ask that they document your visit.
  • Plan with your children and identify a safe place for them (for example, a room with a lock or a friend’s house where they can go for help). Reassure them that their job is to stay safe, not to protect you.
  • Contact your local battered women’s shelter and find out about laws and other resources available to you before you have to use them during a crisis.
  • If possible, keep a journal of all violent incidences, noting dates, events and threats made.
  • Acquire job skills as you can, such as learning to type or taking courses at a community college.
  • Try to set money aside or ask friends or family members to hold money for you.

General Guidelines for Leaving an Abusive Relationship

  • You may request a police stand-by or escort while you leave;
  • If you need to sneak away, be prepared;
  • Make a plan for how and where you will escape;
  • Plan for a quick escape;
  • Put aside emergency money as you can;
  • Hide an extra set of car keys;
  • Pack an extra set of clothes for yourself and your children and store them at a trusted friend or neighbor’s house. Try to avoid using next-door neighbors, close family members and mutual friends;
  • Take with you important phone numbers of friends, relatives, doctors, schools, etc., as well as other important items for yourself and the children, including:
    • Driver’s license;
    • Regularly needed medication;
    • List of credit cards held by self or jointly, or the credit cards themselves if you have access to them;
    • Pay stubs; and checkbooks, and information about bank accounts and other assets.
  • If time is available, also take:
    • Citizenship documents (such as your passport, green card, etc.);
    • Titles, deeds, and other property information;
    • Medical records;
    • Children’s school and immunization records;
    • Insurance information;
    • Copy of marriage license, birth certificates, will, and other legal documents;
    • Verification of social security numbers;
    • Welfare identification; and
    • Valued pictures, jewelry, or personal possessions.
  • Create a false trail. Call motels, real estate agencies, and schools in a town at least six hours away from where you plan to relocate. Ask questions that require a call back to your house in order to leave phone numbers on record.

Created by K.Siu, 2005.

After Leaving an Abusive Relationship

If you are getting a restraining order and the offender is leaving:

  • Change locks and phone number;
  • Change work hours and route taken to work;
  • Change route taken to transport children to school;
  • Keep a certified copy of your restraining order with you at all times;
  • Inform friends, neighbors and employers that you have a restraining order in effect;
  • Give copies of restraining order to employers, neighbors, and schools along with a picture of the offender.
  • Call law enforcement to enforce the order.

If you leave:

  • Consider renting a post office box or using the address of a friend for your mail ;
  • Be aware that addresses are on restraining orders and police reports;
  • Be careful to whom you give your new address and phone number;
  • Change your work hours if possible;
  • Alert school authorities of situation;
  • Consider changing your children’s schools;
  • Reschedule appointments that offender is aware of;
  • Use different stores and frequent different social spots;
  • Alert neighbors and request that they call the police if they feel you may be in danger;
  • Talk to trusted people about the violence;
  • Replace wooden doors with steel or metal doors. Install security systems if possible;
  • Consider getting an ADT system which is an emergency service for domestic violence victims. The in-home system allows the victim to be able to press an emergency button to summon help from the police.
  • Walk around the home and identify any areas that might be a security risk for you; dark areas outside, loose windows that do not lock properly, front door with no peep hole, all of these things can be fixed to keep you safer;
  • Install a lighting system that lights up when a person is coming close to the house (motion sensitive lights);
  • Tell people you work with about the situation and have your calls screened by one receptionist if possible;
  • Ask if someone might be able to walk with you to your car after work;
  • If you have a restraining order, keep a copy on you at all times. You may want to keep a copy at work, home, with a trusted friend, family member or neighbor. If the restraining order includes your children, make sure that the children’s school, day care or baby sitter has a copy to help you enforce it.
  • Tell people who take care of your children which individuals are allowed to pick up your children. Explain your situation to them and provide them with a copy of the restraining order;
  • Call the telephone company to request caller ID. Ask that your phone be blocked so that if you call, neither your partner nor anyone else will be able to get your new, unlisted phone number.
    Created by K.Siu, 2005.

Personalized Safety Plan Tool

The link provided below is a sample personalized safety plan. This is a SAMPLE safety plan tool to assist you in thinking about how you may want to strategize your own safety. If possible, consult with a domestic violence advocate when creating your own plan.

Steps in Creating A Personalized Safety Plan (PDF)

Technology Safety
  • Because computers can record everything you do on them, and on the internet, it is important to think about how you can still use the computer and internet but maintain your safety (always consider talking to a domestic violence advocate to assist you):
  • If you are in danger, use a computer that your abuser does not have direct access to or even remote (hacking) access. Try to use a computer in a public library or at a trusted friend’s house or internet café.
  • Create a new email or instant messaging account. Create additional email accounts on a safer computer but do not check these new accounts from the computer your abuser has access to. When creating a new email, provide little details about your personal information.
  • If you think your abuser is monitoring your activities on your home computer, consider using a “safer” computer to surf the internet or conduct research. Note that a “history” of all the websites you have visited cannot be completely erased from a computer. For example, if you are seeking to escape and flee to another state, don’t search for jobs in that state through your home computer. Your abuser might be able to track where you plan to go through monitoring your activities. Use a safer computer to which your abuser has no access.
  • Consider obtaining your own cell phone or check your mobile phone settings if your phone was provided by your abuser. If your abuser pays for the phone, he may be able to check your call record on the bill.
  • Be aware there are many ways to monitor your activities. A global positioning system (GPS) can be placed on your car, cell phone, or purse. This would allow your abuser to find where you are located.
  • Limit providing personal information on the internet or via email messages. Your email could possibly be intercepted.
  • Minimize cordless phone and baby monitor usage. Cordless phones and baby monitors may allow others to hear your conversations. Use a traditional corded phone when discussing sensitive issues.
  • Save any emails, voicemails, or text messages as evidence. If your abuser is abusive using technology, you can save these messages as evidence for stalking or abuse. Keep an additional record of incidents.
How to Help a Friend

Believe what your friend is saying.
You might be the first and only person that she tells.

Don’t blame your friend for the abuse
Tell her it’s not her fault. NOTHING that a victim says, does, doesn’t say or doesn’t do can prevent the abuse from happening. Remember, the abuse is a choice that the abuser makes.

Be supportive
She might want to stay in the relationship, but she still needs to stay safe. She probably loves her partner, but just wants the abuse to end. Although it might be hard for you to see her in this abusive relationship, if you are a true friend that she can talk to, opening the lines for communication and support is really important.

Tell her no one deserves to be hurt
No matter what the circumstances are, no one deserves to be abused.

Tell her she is not alone and she is not crazy
Abuse can often lead to depression, fear, anger and confusion. Let her know these feelings are normal.

Actively listen and don’t judge her
Let her express all her fears and other feelings. Even giving her good advice in a kind and respectful manner may be perceived as pressure and/or a reminder of everything she is not doing “right.” Your friend might break up with her boyfriend/girlfriend but might get back together. Try to be supportive and non judgmental, and don’t blame her for doing so.

Don’t gossip
Don’t spread rumors or talk about the situation with others since it might put your friend at risk for more abuse. If her partner finds out she talked about it, she might “pay for it” later, and be hurt. If you need to get support in supporting your friend, talk to a domestic advocate or counselor.

Help her get support so she doesn’t feel isolated
Encourage her to talk to someone about her situation. This can include a parent, relative, school counselor, teacher or maybe someone from church. There are also many agencies that can help her, as well as give you tips on how to keep her safe. You may contact the 24 hour toll free National DV Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE. There are also other agencies in Alameda County you can speak to that have 24 hour hotlines. She may also try attending a support group and meet others that are in similar situations. This can help break out of the isolation her abuser has put her in.

Tell her good things about herself
Let her know you think she’s intelligent, strong and brave. Her abuser is telling her she is worthless and stupid and is tearing down her self-esteem.

Help your friend create a safety plan
This safety plan could help keep her safer from abuse. If she wants to break up and leave, help her to stay safe. A lot of abusive people get even more abusive when the victim tries to break up with them. This is because they are losing control over the victim. Many victims are hurt or even killed by abusive partners when they are trying to leave or after they have left.

Be patient and validate her experience
She needs to understand her experience in her own time. Learning to empower herself may take longer than you want. Unless danger is imminent, don’t be impatient with her or reject her feelings of shame or guilt.

Don’t attack the abuser
It will confuse her and, perhaps, move her to defend him or her.

Check if she might need medical attention
She might not realize the extent of her injuries.

Give her information about domestic violence
You can contact a local crisis line or domestic violence agency and get information about the impact of abuse on children and that drugs and alcohol do not cause domestic violence.

Tell her domestic violence is against the law
She may call 911 and also ask for a domestic violence advocate. If it’s not safe to stay on the phone with the operator, run or go to a safe place. If you see the abuse happening and your friend is in great physical danger, don’t put yourself at risk. Call 911!

Ask her about her children
Validate any concerns she might have about the effects of the abuse on her children. It might help her leave in the future.

Don’t give up
Let her know you will always be there when she might need help or need someone to talk to.


Alameda County 24 hour crisis lines:

  • AASRA 1-800-313-2772/657-1245
  • ACCESS 1-800-491-9099
  • AT&T Translation Line 1-800-448-3003
  • A Safe Place 510-536-7233
  • Building Futures with Women & Children 1-866-292-9688
  • DeafHope (24 hr TTY line) 1-866-332-3467
  • Emergency Shelter Program 510-786-1246
  • HELPLINK 1-800-273-6222
  • SAVE 510-794-6055
  • Tri-Valley Haven 1-800-884-8119

Other counties:

  • Asian Women’s Shelter 1-877-751-0880
  • La Casa de Las Madres 1-877-503-1850
  • Next Door-LGBT 408-279-2962
  • Woman Inc (SF) 415-864-4722
  • National DV Hotline 1-800-799-7233

Alameda County Domestic Violence Resource Guide (PDF)

Further Information


Alameda County Domestic Violence Collaborative
The Alameda County Domestic Violence Collaborative, established on September 5, 2000, is made up of representatives from a variety of different social service backgrounds. These include domestic violence shelters, police departments, youth programs, probation, Victim/Witness programs, hospitals, rape prevention organizations, batterer’s programs, the District Attorney’s office, counseling agencies, legal agencies and many other organizations that share the goal of preventing domestic violence.

Membership within the Collaborative is voluntary, free and open to anyone with an interest in advocating and preventing domestic violence. The Collaborative meets regularly the second Tuesday of the every month.

Please contact the following for more information:

Asian Pacific Islander Institute on Gender-Based Violence
The Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence is a national resource center on domestic violence, sexual violence, trafficking, and other forms of gender-based violence in Asian and Pacific Islander communities. It analyzes critical issues affecting Asian and Pacific Islander survivors; provides training, technical assistance, and policy analysis; and maintains a clearinghouse of information on gender violence, current research, and culturally-specific models of intervention and community engagement. The Institute serves a national network of advocates, community-based service programs, federal agencies, national and state organizations, legal, health, and mental health professionals, researchers, policy advocates, and activists from social justice organizations working to eliminate violence against women. Website

East Bay Asian Pacific Islander Coalition to End Domestic Violence
The East Bay Asian and Pacific Islander Coalition to End Domestic Violence is a coalition representing a diverse network of Asian & Pacific Islander (API) organizations serving the API community. Coalition members include social service agencies, domestic violence advocacy organizations, domestic violence shelters, legal centers, health and mental health institutions and community members representing diverse API constituencies in the East Bay. The Coalition’s goal is immediate access to existing services and increasing the capacity of those services to competently serve Asian and Pacific Islander survivors of domestic violence. The Coalition is dedicated to addressing and preventing domestic violence in the API and Middle Eastern communities in the East Bay. Membership in the Coalition is by invitation. For further information, please contact Greg Tanaka or Isabel Kang.

Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community
The Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community (IDVAAC) is an organization focused on the unique circumstances of African Americans as they face issues related to domestic violence – including intimate partner violence, child abuse, elder maltreatment, and community violence. IDVAAC’s mission is to enhance society’s understanding of and ability to end violence in the African-American community. Within this context, IDVAAC works with African-American communities, including families, individuals, and organizations serving the target population; legal and criminal justice systems; family and community violence practitioners; researchers; and policymakers around efforts to build the knowledge base regarding African Americans and domestic violence and to develop strategies to meet the service needs of this population. Website

National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence
National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence is dedicated to helping society recognize and end domestic violence in Latino/Hispanic communities by promoting education, dialogue, public awareness, networking and advocacy. We accomplish this by advocating for positive social change in Latino/Hispanic communities by providing culturally proficient training, technical assistance, resources, education and working with men and boys.

Transforming Communities
Creating Safety and Justice for Women and Girls (TC) is a national leader in the creation of contemporary, community-based approaches to preventing violence against women and girls. By developing and implementing prevention campaigns and by disseminating best practices through trainings and publications, TC advances the prevention agenda, particularly within the domestic violence field. Drawing from the experience of effective social movements and the public health model of prevention, TC fosters sustainable change by building community ownership, promoting individual transformation, and fundamentally shifting the social norms that condone or support violence against women. Website

Communities United Against Violence
Founded in 1979, CUAV is the nation’s first LGBTQQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning) anti-violence organization. Our mission is to prevent and respond to violence against and within our diverse LGBTQQ communities. We accomplish this through peer-based counseling, direct assistance, education and outreach, grassroots organizing, and policy advocacy. Website

California Partnership to End Domestic Violence
The California Partnership to End Domestic Violence is a catalyst and advocate for social change through innovative solutions to ensure safety and justice for victims and survivors of domestic violence and their children. CPEDV is a statewide membership-based coalition with a 25-year history providing a united voice for over 200 California organizations and individual advocates working to end domestic violence at local, state and national levels. Website

National Coalition on Domestic Violence
The Mission of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) is to organize for collective power by advancing transformative work, thinking and leadership of communities and individuals working to end the violence in our lives. NCADV’s work includes coalition building at the local, state, regional and national levels; support for the provision of community-based, non-violent alternatives – such as safe home and shelter programs – for battered women and their children; public education and technical assistance; policy development and innovative legislation; focus on the leadership of NCADV’s caucuses developed to represent the concerns of organizationally under represented groups; and efforts to eradicate social conditions which contribute to violence against women and children. Website

Statistics & Fact Sheets

Books on Battered Women – Basic Material on Battered Women

Battered Wives
Author: Del Martin
Publisher: Pocket Books (1976)

The Battered Woman
Author: Lenore E. Walker
Publisher: Harper & Row (1980)

It Could Happen to Anyone: Why Battered Women Stay
Author: Ola W. Barnett & Alyce D. La Violette
Publisher: Sage Publications (1993)

Next Time, She’ll Be Dead: Battering and How to Stop It
Author: Ann Jones
Publisher: Beacon Press (1994)

The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize It and How to Respond
Author: Patricia Evans
Publisher: Bob Adams, Inc (1992)

Domestic Violence Survival Guide
Author: Cliff Mariani
Publisher: Looseleaf Law Publications (1996)

Books Authored by Battered Women

I, Tina
Author: Tina Turner

The Battered Woman’s Survival Guide: Breaking the Cycle
Author: Jan Berliner Statman
Publisher: Taylor Publishing Company (1990)

Called To Account
Author: M’Liss Switzer & Katherine Hale
Publisher: Seal Press (1987)

Chain, Chain Change – For Black Women Dealing With Physical and Emotional Abuse
Author: Evelyn C. White
Publisher: Seal Press (1985)

Encouragement’s for the Emotionally Abused Woman
Author: Beverly Engle
Publisher: Lowell House (1993)

Getting Free: A Handbook for Women in Abusive Relationships
Author: Ginny NiCarthy
Publisher: Seal Press (1982)

A Journey Through Domestic Violence: Every Eighteen Seconds
Author: Nancy Kilgore
Publisher: Volcano Press (1992)

Mejor Sola Que Mal Acompanada
Author: Myrna M. Zambrano
Pubilsher: Seal Press (1985)

The Ones Who Got Away: Women Who Left Abusive Partners
Author: Ginny NiCarthy
Publisher: Seal Press (1990)

Violent Voices: Twelve Steps to Freedom from Emotional and Verbal Abuse
Author: Kay Marie Porterfield
Publisher: Health Communications (1989)

Struggle For Intimacy
Author: Janet Wsititz
Publisher: Health Communications (1985)

The Verbally Abusive Relatiohship: How to Recognize It and How to Respond
Author: Patricia Evans
Publisher: Adams Media Corporation (1985)

Trauma and Recovery
Author: Judith Herman
Publisher: Basic Books (1992)

When Love Goes Wrong: What to Do With You Can’t Do Anything Right: Strategies for Women With Controlling Partners
Author: Ann Jones and Susan Schechter
Publisher: Harper Perennial (1992)

You Are Not Alone: A Guide For Battered Women
Author: Linda P. Rouse
Publisher: Learning Publication (1982)

Books on Children & Families

Dating Violence: Young Women in Danger
Author: Barrie Levy

Boys will be Boys: Breaking the Link between Masculinity and Violence
Author: Myiam Miedzian

Big World, Small Screen: The Role of Television in America Society
Author: Aletha C. Huston

Children of Battered Women
Author: Peter G. Jaffee

To Be An Anchor in the Storm A Guide for Families and Friends of Abused Women
Author: Susan Brewster

Books on Batterers

Man Against Woman: What Every Woman Should Know About Violent Men
Author: Edward W. Gondolf
Publisher: TAB Books (1989)

Violent No More Helping Men End Domestic Abuse
Author: Michael Paymar

Books on Battered Women – Other

The Dance of Anger
Author: Harriet Learner

The Gift of Fear
Author: Gavin deBecker

Keepin the Faith
Author: Maria Fortune

Self Esteem Author: Jean Clarke

The Woman Who Walked into Door
Author: Roddy Doyle

Black and Blue
Author: Anna Quindlan

Domestic Tyranny
Author: Elizabeth Pleck

Restraining Orders


A restraining order (also called a “protective order”) is a court order that can protect someone from being physically or sexually abused, threatened, stalked, or harassed. The person getting the restraining order is called the “protected person.” The person the restraining order is against is the “restrained person.” Sometimes, restraining orders include other “protected persons” like family or household members of the protected person.

This information is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Every individual’s domestic violence situation is different. Persons are encouraged to seek direct advice specific from a domestic violence service provider or attorney.

Restraining Order FAQs


  • What if the domestic violence incident occurred in another county, but I have fled to Alameda County? It is not unusual for domestic violence survivors to flee from county to county and state to state for their personal safety. In some cases a survivor of domestic violence can file a domestic violence restraining order in the county they flee to. However, there are some serious issues to consider: 1) The abuser will likely discover what county you fled to because your restraining order paperwork indicates what county the court paperwork was filed in, and what county has jurisdiction over the case; 2) You may have jurisdictional problems and may not qualify for a restraining order in the county you fled to. In order for Alameda County Superior Court to hear your restraining order case, you must be a resident of the county, and the abuse needs to have occurred in this county. The legal questions are more complex if you have fled from one state to another. If you fled to Alameda County from another county or state it is IMPORTANT to consult with an attorney, the Alameda County Superior Court Self-Help Center, or a family law legal aid agency as soon as possible.
  • What if I already have an ongoing family law case? Generally, it is not an issue if you already have an on-going family law case in the same county; you can still file a request for a domestic violence restraining order under that case number. However, this may be an issue if you have an open family law case outside of Alameda County; you may need to file a restraining order request in that same county. In this situation, it would be wise to seek legal advice/information before filing.
  • What if the domestic violence incident I complain of is not recent? Domestic violence restraining orders are appropriate when the person (victim) is in immediate danger and the court should grant orders to protect further imminent harm. Generally, that means there has been recent violence (in the last 30 to 60 days). However, sometimes there are valid reasons why a survivor of violence doesn’t come forward right away and seek a restraining order, and the court can take this into consideration. For example, if an abuser is arrested the survivor thinks she/he is safe and then, later, the abuser is released from jail or prison. At that point the person may realize she/he is in danger. In that situation it may be appropriate for the person (victim) to request a restraining order.
  • What if my abuser has not hit me or threatened to hit me, but follows me and calls me numerous times a day? If the abuser has not physically harmed you or threatened to physically harm you, but continually calls, follows, harasses or monitors you, it is possible that the abuser is stalking you. Stalking is a pattern of unwelcome contact (phone calls, text messages, e-mails, following, showing up at your home or work) that causes a person to be concern for his or her safety. Usually, there are threats involved, too. In such a case, you may qualify for a domestic violence restraining order. However, it is often challenging to fully explain this type of case to the court and you may need legal assistance in doing so.
  • Do I have to have a police report in order to get a domestic violence restraining order? You do not need a police report to obtain a domestic violence restraining order. A police report is very good evidence of a problem, but it is not absolutely necessary. However, you will need to present some evidence to the court that demonstrates you qualify for a restraining order. For example, you can use medical records from medical care for injuries you suffered, photographs of bruises or injuries or photographs of damaged property, unwelcome or threatening text messages, tape recordings of threatening or harassing voicemails, threatening and/or unwelcome e-mails and eye and ear witnesses who saw or heard the abuse. All these things are helpful evidence to prove to the court that you need the protection of a domestic violence restraining order.
  • Is a criminal protective order (“CPO”) the same thing as a domestic violence protective Order? No, a CPO is not the same thing as a civil domestic violence restraining order. A CPO is issued by a criminal court and a domestic violence restraining Order is issued from a civil court. There are other differences between the two orders, but some of the most important differences are the following: CPOs do not include custody and visitation orders and Domestic Violence Restraining Orders do; Domestic Violence Restraining Orders can be renewed, while a CPO cannot.
  • Do I have to go to court in order to get a Domestic Violence Restraining Order? Yes, you have to go to court to file for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order request, and you also have to attend a hearing, in person, where the other person will also be present, in order to obtain a permanent Domestic Violence Restraining Order.
  • Who can get a domestic violence restraining order? You may qualify for a domestic violence restraining order if you are in imminent danger, being physically abused, or have been threatened with physical abuse or a threat to hurt you by a spouse, former spouse, current intimate partner and former intimate partner, someone with whom you have a child in common, second degree blood relation, and a co-habitant or former co-habitant (this includes roommates).
  • Can our children be protected by a domestic violence restraining order? Yes, in most cases children in common can be protected on a domestic violence restraining, as well as children from a previous relationship, and other household members.

Additional concerns:

  • Where do I go to file for a domestic violence restraining order? In order to file for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order you must turn in your paperwork to an Alameda Superior Court.
  • Who can I ask for additional help filling out forms? For starters, the Self-Help Center of the Alameda County Superior Court. Additionally, some legal aid agencies offer restraining order paperwork assistance.
  • Is there someone who speaks my language who can help me with this process and fill out the forms? It is often challenging for a non-English speaking domestic violence survivor to find help. The Self- Help Center of the Alameda County Superior Court has Spanish speaking employees who can help. Another good place for non-English speaking survivors to start is the Alameda County Family Justice Center. The Justice Center, and the service providers co-located at the center can find the service that meet the survivor’s needs.
  • What if I have a previous history of abuse and filed for a restraining order before, but let it drop without pursuing it, and now, due to new violence, want to file again? Is it more difficult to get another restraining order later? It is not unusual for survivors of domestic violence to have filed a restraining order and then decide they do not want it. Just because you filed a restraining order in the past does not mean that you cannot file again as long as you meet the criteria for a restraining order.
What Everyone Should Know About Protection Orders in Alameda County

DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Every individual’s domestic violence situation is different. Persons are encouraged to seek direct advice specific from a domestic violence service provider or attorney.

What everyone should know about protection orders in Alameda County

What is a Domestic Violence Restraining Order (also known as a Protective Order)?
A protection order is a document issued by the court, at your request, to help you protect yourself from someone who is abusing you, threatening to hurt you, or harassing you. It can also provide other types of relief from abuse. A protection order can help with the following:

Sets Boundaries/Limits. 
It can possibly require the abuser to stay away from you and your home. This might include children, children’s child care facility/school, family members that live with you and/or your workplace.

Sends a Strong Message. 
A protection order lets the abuser know you won’t put up with abusive behavior. However, while a protection order is supposed to help keep you safe, it should not be viewed that a protection order alone will keep your abuser away. Depending on your situation, a protection order could make things worse. It is encouraged that you speak to a legal advocate to determine your options.

What can a Domestic Violence Restraining Order do?

Stay Away from You. 
Once a protection order is issued, it can help keep your abuser away from your home, your workplace or anywhere you go. The abuser is supposed to stay 100 yards away from wherever you are (100 yards is the size of a football field).

Move Out. 
You can request a ‘Move-out Order’ that requires that the abuser move out of the home. If the both of you live together, you can ask a law enforcement officer be on the scene when you or the abuser collects his or her belongings.

Get into a Domestic Violence Program. 
The judge may require the abuser to attend a 52-week batterer’s treatment program that focuses on his/her power and control issues and take accountability for their abuse. If there are substance abuse issues, the judge may also require the abuser to attend some program that focuses on substance abuse. The judge may also encourage survivors to attend regular support groups to learn more about the dynamics of abuse and their options to keep safe.

Grant You Temporary Custody of Children. 
Depending on the details of the case and/or until the court makes a final decision about child custody, you may be able to get temporary custody/visitation Orders. Custody decisions are made by the judge with the assistance of a court-affiliated program, Family Court Services, where a mediator speaks to both parents regarding custody issues and arrangements and will make a recommendation to the judge on the best interests of the child or children.

Ability to Request Supervised Visits. 
Depending on the details of the case, there may be restrictions put on the abuser’s visitation of the children. For example, the visits may be supervised by a third party. A third party can be a professional from a supervised visitation center or a non-professional like a neutral third party (like a family member or friend).

Request Child Support Payments. 
The abuser may be required to send you money to meet your children’s needs on a monthly basis. The amount paid to your children depends on variable factors, including the abuser’s income and your income and so forth. The court will decide the final amounts.

Can I get a domestic violence restraining order ?

Not everyone is eligible to obtain a protective order. It is encouraged for you to seek the advice of an advocate or law enforcement on what a protective order can and cannot do for you.

In order to qualify, you must have one of the following relationships to the person you want restrained:

  • Spouse or former spouse
  • Person with whom you share or shared a living space
  • Have or had a dating/engagement relationship
  • Parents of a child
  • Relative to the second degree (grandparents, but not cousins)

The person you want restrained must have committed at least one of the following acts:

  • Recent physical violence (usually within the past 6 months)
  • Recent threats of physical violence (past 3-6 months)
  • Harassment (excessive phone calls, threatening or upsetting notes etc.)
  • Recent sexual assault or molestation
  • Stalking
  • Verbal abuse (only where very severe)

A restraining order cannot be issued without “reasonable proof” that the party to be restrained committed the abuse. Detailed documentation or a signed statement of particular incidents of abuse, including dates on which it occurred, might be considered sufficient evidence.

The following items may be very helpful to the court if attached to your statement:

  • Police reports of recent incidents
  • Medical/hospital records
  • Photographs of injuries
  • Emergency protective orders
  • Criminal protective order

Steps to Get a Restraining Order in Alameda County

Domestic Violence Restraining Order: The General Process in Alameda County

Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) Form Packet
A person eligible for a domestic violence restraining order can obtain a temporary restraining order form packet for persons with or without children. The forms can be obtained at your local court house or with the help of a legal service agency.

Proof of Service
After the papers have been properly served on the restrained person, the proof of service must be filled out and signed by the person that served the papers. Three (3) copies of the proof of service should be made. The original signed copy of the proof of service should be filed and submitted to the court. The other two copies should be file stamped by the clerk. One copy should be attached to your copy of the TRO and that should be brought to court on your hearing date. The final copy should be kept with your records.

Filing the Forms
After the appropriate forms have been completed, the forms are submitted to the court clerk in the appropriate jurisdiction. The clerk will take the forms to a Judge to be reviewed. The forms will be processed and returned. This takes between 24-48 hours (business days).

  • If the Judge grants a TRO the clerk will return two copies of the order: 1) a copy for the person requesting the order 2) a copy for the restrained person
  • If the Judge grants the TRO; the TRO must be served (See Service of the Forms).
  • If the Judge has granted your TRO you will be given a hearing date. (See Restraining Order Hearing).
  • If the Judge rejects the request you will be given a hearing with no temporary orders; the TRO must be served if you want the court to consider issuing any orders.

Service of the Forms
After the temporary orders have been picked-up from the court, the person requesting the orders must have copies of all forms personally served on the restrained person, along with as a blank Answer to Temporary Restraining Order.

The TRO can be served by the following people: 1) a person 18 yrs or old and who is a not listed on the order as a protected person 2) by a professional process server 3) Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (if it is being served in Alameda County) . Generally, service of the papers must be completed at least five calendar days before the hearing unless otherwise stated on the orders.

Answer from Restrained Person
The restrained person has a right to file an answer with the court in response to the restraining order. The answer should be served on the other person and filed with the court prior to the hearing.

Domestic Violence Restraining Order

A Domestic Violence Restraining Order is a protective order issued under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act. The order is issued by a Civil Superior Court

Restraining Order Hearing
The protected person should attend the hearing whether they were able to serve the restrained person or not. A request can be made to the court that the hearing be continued and the TRO is re-issued so the protected person has additional time to serve the restrained person. If the abuser was served and is present or is not present the court can issue the restraining or set a hearing date for contested restraining orders.

Judge Issues the Restraining Order
If the judge issued a restraining order then the court clerk files the order and the protected person is given a copy of the Restraining Order After Hearing (ROAH). If the restrained person was not present then the protected person must serve them with the ROAH. If the restrained person was present then often the court serves them during court. Please note that if children are involved the court will order mediation and possibly future hearings.
Created by Veronica Bouttelle, Family Violence Law Center, 2009.


Family Violence Law Center Center

California Courts Self-Help Center

Alameda County Bar Association

Alameda County Superior Court

Bay Area Legal Aid
(510) 250-5270

Children (DV)

Children & Domestic Violence

Children are affected by domestic violence. In studies conducted by Carlson, Straus and Gelles (as cited in the Child Welfare Information Gateway, around 3.3 to 10 million children observe the abuse of one parent by another.

Although children may not be present during an abusive episode, they are still impacted by it. They notice physical signs such as bruises, hear yelling and screaming and can feel tension between adults. Research has indicated that young children especially from birth to 5 years can be profoundly affected by exposure to domestic violence.

Since brain development is influenced by experience, the brain of an infant or young child exposed to domestic violence may become “stuck” in a state of fear. As a result, the child may develop behaviors that promote survival such as hyper-vigilance, a focus on threat-related cues and impulsive behavior. Source info

How Domestic Violence Affects Children

Some of the impacts of exposure to domestic violence among children are as follows:


  • Confusion about conflicting feelings toward parents
  • Fear of abandonment, or expressing emotions, the unknown or personal injury
  • Terror over the constant threat of danger, both for the parent who is meant to keep them safe and also for themselves
  • Anger
  • Depression and feelings of helplessness and powerlessness
  • Embarrassment and shame


  • Acting out or withdrawing
  • Aggressive or passive behavior
  • Refusing to go to school
  • Care taking; acting as a parent substitute
  • Bed-wetting and nightmares
  • Dissociation/withdrawal


  • Isolation from friends and relatives
  • Poor anger management and problem solving skills
  • Excessive social involvement to avoid home
  • Identification with the aggressor: the use of verbal and physical threat to control relationships
  • Difficulty in trusting, especially adults
  • Engaged in exploitative relationships as perpetrator or victim


  • Somatic complaints, headaches and stomachaches
  • Nervous, anxious, short attention span
  • Frequently ill
  • Regression in development (i.e. having potty accidents after having been potty trained)
  • Tired and lethargic

Source info

What do Children Learn from Domestic Violence?

In addition to exhibiting some of the behaviors above, children who are exposed to domestic violence also learn messages that can lead to unhealthy relationships of their own. These include the following:

  • learning that the only way to get what you want is by using violence
  • learning that it’s okay to be violent or to be abused
  • believing that violence in families is normal

Source info

Furthermore, children also learn that loving or caring for someone involves hurting and abusing them whether they are the victim or the perpetrator. Domestic violence can also reinforce rigid gender roles where women are often viewed as powerless and men are in control. This can lead to the belief that relationships are based on inequality where one partner is supposed to be dominant to the other partner.

Community Resources

D.O.V.E.S. Project
The D.O.V.E.S. Project is a domestic violence program housed in the Center for Child Protection at Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland that offers education, screening, counseling and advocacy services to battered caregivers and to children exposed to domestic violence.

Safe Passages
Safe Passages is an inter-governmental partnership including the City of Oakland, the County of Alameda, the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), philanthropy and community-based partners that is committed to advocating for children, youth, and families with a special emphasis on vulnerable populations within the County of Alameda. Safe Passages also provides counseling for children.

The Child Abuse Listening, Interviewing and Coordination Center, known as CALICO, provides a supportive environment to interview children and facilitates a collaborative response to child abuse in which the needs of children take precedence.

Teen Dating & Violence


Domestic violence can happen to anyone at any age. Teens and young women (16-24 years old) are especially vulnerable targets for dating and sexual violence. This includes rape, sexual assault, and stalking. In addition, there are many young people who live in homes where partner violence has occurred, and that is about 15.5 million U.S. children who are affected by violence.

Teen Power & Control Wheel

Teen Power And Control Wheel

The following is a diagram (from The National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence) illustrates tactics used by abusers to assert their power and control over teen victims of domestic violence. These examples do not happen to everyone but these are actions that might be used over a period of time.  he National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence.  NCDSV.

Teen Equality Wheel

The following is a diagram illustrating characteristics of a healthy teen relationship.

“Am I in a Healthy Relationship?” –

Teen Dating Violence And Pregnancy

Young women in abusive relationships are 4-6 times more likely to become pregnant. In addition, a pregnant teen leaving an abuser faces additional barriers and challenges. Like many adults, pregnant teens fear being a single parent and do not want to raise their child alone. A teen may be more fearful if she does not have family support, or if she believes she would lose privileges if her family became aware she was pregnant.


According to the Alameda County Teen Dating Violence Task Force survey, 232 Alameda County youth ages 14-24 indicate that about 43.5 percent of youth report having been intimidated, emotionally and/or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend.

More specifically, 25% of them have reported being intimidated; 24% have been threatened by a boyfriend or girlfriend; and 22% report having been physically abused.

Why it Might be Hard for a Teenager to Leave

Fear that no one will believe you.
You are afraid they won’t believe the abuse ever happened.

The abuse isn’t all that bad.
You believe your partner isn’t abusive all the time. They can be very loving, sweet and thoughtful at times.

Your partner has made threats to your safety.
Your abuser has threatened to hurt you, your family and friends or maybe your pets, if you leave.

Your partner has threatened to spread rumors.
S/he does not want you to leave so s/he makes threats to tell others lies about you.

You feel obligated to stay.
Your partner bought you things or took you places.

You fear of what others might do.
You are worried your parents, teachers or counselors won’t understand. They might think it is just a “crush” and not realize that you are in love with your partner. You may also be afraid that your parents might be angry with you or blame you for the abuse. You might lose privileges like going out with friends, or your cell phone might be taken away.

You don’t have a place to get away.
Your abuser already knows where you live and you might go to the same school and can’t get away or avoid him/her.

Your partner is popular.
Your friends think your partner is a “great” person, popular, and good looking. They tell you that you are “lucky” to be going out with him/her.

Your partner has threatened suicide.
You feel guilty if you leave because your partner has threatened to hurt himself/herself.

No one else will date you.
Your partner has told you that you are dumb, ugly, fat or stupid, and you start to believe it. You want to have a boyfriend/girlfriend. Everyone else does and you don’t want to be the only one without a boyfriend/girlfriend.

You want to change your partner.
If you love him/her enough, things will be good. You think if you start doing what s/he asks you to do, s/he won’t get so mad at you.

Your partner has promised to change.
Your partner says s/he will get counseling and would try to watch his/her temper and be nicer to you.

You don’t want to be without him/her in your life. You care about him/her and want the abuse to stop, but you don’t want to break up.

You’ve been intimate with your partner.
You have been physically intimate with him/her and are afraid he/she might tell others or that you might get a bad reputation. You feel a connection to your partner.

You are embarrassed that the abuse happened and you want to keep it a secret.

You feel guilty and confused.
You are unsure of what to do but feel helpless to change it. You feel it’s your fault it got this bad and feel obligated to stay and work things out.

A Teen's Safety Plan

If you are in an abusive situation and not ready to leave, it is important you keep safe. The link below is a sample safety plan you can print out to help you in developing your plan for safety. If possible, consult with a domestic violence counselor or someone you trust to go over this with you.

How to Help a Friend

It may be hard to help a friend in an abusive situation, especially if you do not know what to say or do. The best thing to do is to listen and believe your friend. You don’t have to have all the answers. You can also get support in helping support your friend who is being abused. The link below is more information about teen dating violence and how you may be able to help your friend.

What Parents Can Do

If you suspect your teen may be in an abusive relationship, there are ways where you can get support. There is also information on what are healthy and unhealthy relationships for you to learn and share with your teen.

What are some signs that may indicate my teen is in an abusive relationship?

  • Your teen has a very jealous boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Your teen experiences a lot of put-downs and other verbal abuse.
  • Your teen spends less time with family, friends, and her/his personal interests.
  • Your teen gets physically hurt.
  • Your teen’s girlfriend or boyfriend has a pattern of harming others.

What can you do as a parent?

  • Show your teen that you care.
  • Assure your teen that she/he can choose to stop the abuse.
  • Help them create and follow a safety plan.
  • Help your teen get professional help.
  • Do not blame your teen.
  • Tell them they are not responsible for the abuse.
  • Provide non-judgmental support.
What Schools Can Do

Q & A

How do I know if a student is involved in a violent relationship?
Here are some likely signs in student behavior; they don’t explain how they got physically injured; they becomes defensive when the topic of relationships comes up; they isolate themselves; they experience frequent break ups and make ups; and they live in fear.

Are there experts available to provide teen dating violence training on our campus?
Yes, check with your local domestic violence agencies for a schedule of workshops.

What is a Temporary Restraining Order?
A person may request the Family Court for a Temporary Restraining Order “requiring no contact or peaceful contact to protect” any people who demonstrate proof that they are victims of domestic abuse.

Can a minor obtain a Temporary Restraining Order?
Yes, a minor 12-years-old and older can obtain a Temporary Restraining order under California law.

If a student has obtained a Temporary Restraining Order naming a student currently enrolled on the same campus, is a school required to take action?
Although Restraining Orders fall under the responsibility of law enforcement, schools are responsible for the safety and needs of students in danger of domestic violence, also known as taking a “domestic violence centered approach”.

What is a domestic violence centered approach?
A domestic violence centered approach focuses on the safety of the victim and seeks accountability from the perpetrator.

What can schools do to prevent teen dating violence on campus?
Schools can train teachers and counselors how to spot the warning signs of teen dating violence and support to the victim. Also, coordinate a Teen Dating Violence Awareness Week every year or semester.

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Week – Ideas for Promotional Activities

Suggested Activities

  • Write a letter or article to the school newspaper describing the activities and events of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Week.
  • Organize an Outreach Committee made up of parents and students.
  • Plan for a panel of school and community leaders to speak and educate on teen dating issues.
  • Include the input of teen survivors in the planning process.
  • Invite guests to an evening of dinner and dancing under the theme “Stop Teen Dating Violence”.
  • Post a display that provides information on teen dating violence in the school lobby or library.
  • Coordinate a candlelight vigil to honor those affected by dating violence.
  • Hold an essay contest encouraging students to write about creative solutions to teen dating violence.
  • Collect donations for the domestic violence shelter.
  • Make sure the community knows that Teen Dating Violence Awareness Week happens February 4 -8 via newsletters, billboards, morning announcements, etc.

A Guide to Addressing Teen Dating Violence and Sexual Violence in a School Setting


Family Violence Law Center (RAP)

CA Youth Crisis Hotline

A Safe Place

Alateen Family Group

Asian Community Mental Health

Children’s Hospital Teen Clinic

Clinica Alta Vista

Fred Finch Youth Center

Girls Inc
(SL) 510-357-5515

Law Center for Families

Project Eden
(Hayward) 510-247-8200

Scotland Center (girls)

SMAAC Youth Center

Teen Crisis Hotline

Tri-Valley Haven

National DV Hotline



Domestic violence is often thought of as an issue involving heterosexual individuals. However, it occurs within relationships between lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) individuals at the same rate as with heterosexual individuals. Many tactics used in abusive LGBTQ relationships are similar to those used in relationships between heterosexual individuals, but LGBTQ survivors of domestic violence face unique issues. For example, a survivor may be threatened with being “outed” as being a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or questioning person. Because of the oppression faced by LGBTQ individuals, an abusive partner can tell his/her partner that no one will help him/her because he/she is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (Moore, Baum, Holt, & Couchman, 2001, 5) [1].

Sometimes, domestic violence within LGBTQ relationships is incorrectly seen as “mutual” or “consensual”. This may prevent a survivor from seeking help if he/she feels that no one will help because of this perception. Domestic violence shelters and agencies may not be sensitive to violence in LGBTQ relationships, leaving a survivor feeling isolated and stuck in the abusive relationship (Moore et al., 2001) [1].

Myths surrounding domestic violence in LGBTQ relationships can be dangerous to domestic violence survivors in these relationships. One such myth is that violence cannot occur in a relationship between two persons of the same gender. This myth assumes that since both people are of the same gender, there is no power differential. The reality is that domestic violence is a choice that one person makes to abuse a partner regardless of whether or not the partner is of the same gender.

[1] Moore, K., Baum, R., Holt, S., & Couchman, D.
(2001). Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Domestic Violence in 2000

Community Resources

Communities United Against Violence (CUAV)
Founded in 1979, Community United Against Violence (CUAV) works to build the power of LGBTQ communities to transform violence and oppression.

Further Information

Power and Control Wheel for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Relationships

The Power and Control Wheel for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans Relationships provides various examples of abusive behaviors that may occur in relationships between LGBTQ individuals. This particular wheel also shows how domestic violence in LGBTQ relationships is influenced by the oppression faced by LGBTQ communities.

Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse

Immigrant Survivors (DV)


  • constant threats of deportation
  • language barriers
  • cultural barriers
  • economic barriers
  • lack of knowledge of the American legal system
  • withdrawal of her petition to complete her legalization status
  • intimidation by destroying important documents such as an identification card or passport
  • destroying personal mementos from her home country
  • threatening to report her employment status if she works “under the table”
  • making derogatory/racist comments about her culture
  • threatening to deport her and keeping the children
Immigrant Power & Control Wheel

Survivor Stories

Felicia’s Story
Felicia was physically abused by Rob for years. When she was pregnant, Rob held a knife to her abdomen and demanded money. He caught her using the phone against his orders and hit her in the face with it, causing a deep permanent scar. Another time she was hospitalized when he punched her in the face. He left for long periods, but returned to stay at random times. He threatened to report her to immigration authorities, and a family member did report her. She was arrested and ordered deported, but she didn’t leave the US because she had three children she couldn’t leave. Once he came to the house to get something and, unable to find it, threatened Felicia with a knife. She picked up the phone to call the police and he ripped it from the wall and threw it. He held the knife to her chest and told her that if she called the police he would kill her and her son. Her son ran out of the house and called the police and Rob was arrested. He threatened to kill her if she testified against him, but she ultimately agreed to testify. Rob pleaded guilty and was jailed. Felicia and her children started to recover from the abuse. But two weeks ago, immigration authorities arrested Felicia at her house and ordered her to leave the US by February 14. A friend told her to come to International Institute of the East Bay (IIEB). Although IIEB has a long list of immigrant crime victims waiting for service, it is agency policy to to expedite work for people facing imminent deportation. Staff and volunteers rushed to get the work done in just a few days. The Hayward police expedited getting her police report. The District Attorney’s Office rushed to complete the law enforcement certification of helpfulness. ICE permitted Felicia to stay in the US for 6 months pending adjudication of her U-Visa case. IIEB is working with a “Special Liaison Counsel” with USCIS and with Barbara Lee’s office to expedite processing of the U-Visa.

Carrie’s Story
Carrie (7484) fled her apartment with her children after Daniel was arrested for punching and terrorizing her. When she came to IIBA, Carrie was traumatized, homeless, and had no idea how to support her children. She had been a nurse in Mexico, but she could not work legally in the US because she was undocumented. Daniel had supported the family financially, and suddenly that support was gone. Fortunately, because Carrie helped the police arrest her abuser, she qualified for temporary immigration status available to crime victims pending implementation of the federal “U” crime victim visa. IIBA submitted Carrie’s application quickly to make her immediately eligible for CalWORKs and Medi-Cal under a special California provision for immigrant crime victims. Months later, she got her work permit and was able to work part time. IIBA helped convince officials that Carrie’s legal status made her eligible to attend community college, and Carrie enrolled in a pharmacy program. When Carrie came to our office last month, she was on top of the world. Daniel never found her or her children. Her daughters are happy in school and Carrie is able to support them while preparing to complete her classes in May. She already has a paid pharmacy internship lined up. She hopes to volunteer with IIBA when she graduates.

Rachel’s story
Richard physically abused Rachel for most of their 15 year marriage, but because she could not support her children alone, she felt she had no choice. She is an incredibly dedicated mother who is a parent leader in her children’s schools, an active member both of her congregation and a faith based community organization. On three occasions, she called police when her injuries were unbearable. Twice, Richard was jailed, but Rachel permitted him to return to support the family. In 2008, Berkeley police arrested Richard for punching Rachel in the eye, and Rachel was prepared to testify against him when she was picked up by Immigration authorities (ICE) for failure to obey a 1997 order to depart the US, and given a month to leave the country. Because IIBA has worked with other leaders in her community group, they knew about the U visa, and brought Rachel to us. We rushed to submit an extensively documented U visa application (that included 25 letters attesting to Rachel’s outstanding moral character), and then started work to try to keep her in the US with her children, despite the deportation order. With the enormous assistance of the Alameda County District Attorney, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and officials at the US Immigration Service, we were able to stop the deportation, at least temporarily. Richard was deported, and IIBA helped Rachel get CalWORKs benefits and full scope Medi-Cal to keep the family going without Richard’s income. We hope she will receive work authorization in the coming months. Rachel is currently working with her community group to organize outreach to immigrant domestic violence survivors. IIBA is working on a training curriculum to teach Rachel and a half dozen other clients to conduct outreach.

In 1997, Richard and Rachel were in deportation proceedings and duped by a (since disbarred) attorney who charged them $9,000 to defend them against deportation. He lost their case, and they were ordered deported. Unable to leave her three US citizen daughters, Rachel did not leave as ordered.

Myths & Realities
MYTH: I don’t know where I could go to be safe if I don’t have papers to be in this country.
FACT: Services are available regardless of immigration status. In particular, non-profit organizations are explicitly exempt from verifying immigration status as a condition for providing services. Any non-profit or government domestic violence services program or shelter that denies assistance to immigrants who are undocumented is violating civil rights and fair housing laws.

MYTH: There aren’t many immigrants who suffer domestic violence in this country.
FACT: Actually, immigrant women may suffer higher rates of battering than U.S. citizens because they may have less access to legal and social services. Often, many victims may believe that the penalties and protections of the U.S. legal system do not apply to them.

With no place to Turn: Improving Advocacy for Battered Immigrant Women, Family Law Quarterly, vol. 29, no. 2, (Summer 1995).

MYTH:I am married to my abuser and I cannot leave because he says he is the only one that can petition for me to stay in this country. I have 2 small children that he supports as well.
FACT: As a victim of domestic violence, you may be eligible to petition for yourself and your children to stay in this country through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Talk with a immigration legal advocate to assist you in the process.

Additional Safety Concerns for an Immigrant Survivor

Establish a code word for safety.
Practice with your children and close family about your code word that tells them you need help or you need them to call the police for them.

Safety plan with an advocate.
Before you strategize to leave, talk with an advocate, preferably with someone that speaks your language or has a similar cultural background. Not all domestic violence agencies have the capacity to speak your language, but they might be able to assist you in getting the information you need to remain safe.

If you do call the police, you have the right to ask to speak to a domestic violence advocate.
Oftentimes, many immigrant survivors don’t believe they have any rights in this country because of their status. When it comes to your safety, you have the right to speak to an advocate who may be a support person to help guide you through the process. You may also ask for an advocate that can speak your language if possible.

Build your case by documenting facts.
It is in your best interest to document any threats made to you and your children or document any incidents that might have happened. Your documentation may be stronger than a police report because you are showing the history of abuse you have endured.

Keep personal files and documents in a safe place.
Your immigration papers and ID card, and green card, including birth certificate, marriage certificate and pictures, etc., should be kept in a safe place or made copies of and kept with someone whom you trust. This also includes keeping a bag with extra clothes for you and the kids when you plan to actually leave. You may leave this in your car or with a trusted friend.

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

DISCLAIMER: This information is meant to provide general information about domestic violence and immigration relief. Please consult with an attorney or other legal agency for more details about any legal questions you have about your immigration issues.

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
As a battered immigrant or refugee woman, you may be able to petition for yourself through VAWA. Filing a successful VAWA self-petition can give you the following:

  • gain access to public benefits after about 3 to 5 months;
  • obtain a work permit afterr about 3 to 12 months;
  • give you the right to a permanent residence (a green card) after 1.5 to 6 years, for you and your children

Eligibility for VAWA:

  • Your spouse is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident
  • You are currently legally married to your spouse, or divorced not more than 2 years ago
  • You married your spouse in good faith (not for the sole purpose of getting a green card)
  • Your spouse abused you, or your child
  • You have resided with your spouse for some time, in the U.S. or in another country
  • You live in the U.S. right now
  • You have good moral character

Please contact an immigration law specialists to help you prepare to file for a VAWA self-petition.

VAWA Process Flow Chart

VAWA Process Flow Chart – Spanish


DISCLAIMER: This information is meant to provide general information about domestic violence and immigration relief. Please consult with an attorney or other legal agency for more details about any legal questions you have about your immigration issues.

If you are a victim of a serious crime and you are willing to cooperate with law enforcement, you may apply for a U-Visa. Through the U-Visa you may:

  • be able to attain non-immigrant status in the U.S. for 3 years and can possibly be extended to 4 years.
  • obtain authorization for employment
  • possibly become a permanent resident after 3-4 years as a U-Visa holder. After becoming a legal permanent resident, you may be able to start the process to become a US citizen in 5 years
  • be eligible for CalWORKs, Medi-Cal
  • get deportation process terminated

U Visa Process

STEP 1: find a legal services office with expertise in U visas to handle your application.

STEP 2: Prepare application w/ attorney [takes about a month]

STEP 3: submit application to Vermont Service Center (I-918, I-192, I-765)

  • open case with CALWorks if you are eligible for CALWorks

STEP 4: get a receipt

  • based on that receipt, your application is complete with CALWorks and you can start receiving benefits

STEP 5: U visa approved [w/in 1+ yr of filing]

  • receive U visa status which lasts for 3 to 4 yrs
  • you get a work permit that lasts for 3 yrs

STEP 6: you can apply for a green card 3 years after you get your U visa

STEP 7: you can apply for citizenship 5 years after you get your green card


DISCLAIMER: This information is meant to provide general information about domestic violence and immigration relief. Please consult with an attorney or other legal agency for more details about any legal questions you have about your immigration issues.

If you are a victim of severe human trafficking and are willing to assist the police with an investigation into the people responsible for your trafficking, you may be eligible to apply for a T-Visa. A T-Visa allows victims of severe trafficking to stay in the US for 4 years. The T-Visa would also give you permission to work. If you think you may be eligible for the T-Visa, please contact a legal agency who knows about human trafficking.

U.S. Citizen & Immigration Services

Victims of Human Trafficking: T Nonimmigrant Status

Immigration Options Chart for Abused Immigrants

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) provides lawful permanent residency to children who are under the jurisdiction of a juvenile court and who will not be reunified with their parents due to abuse, neglect or abandonment.

What are the benefits of Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)?

  • Allows the child to remain in the United States and eventually obtain lawful permanent residency (a “green card).
  • Provides an employment authorization document that allows the child to work and serves as a government-issued identification card.

Who is eligible for SIJS?

A child who is under the jurisdiction of a juvenile court, where the court has found (a) that the child cannot be reunified with either parent because of abuse, neglect or abandonment, and (b) that it would not be in the child’s best interest to be returned to the home country.

What are the requirements for SIJS?

  • The juvenile court either must declare the child to be a court dependent or must legally commit the child to a state department or agency. This should include children in dependency proceedings, delinquency proceedings, and guardianship through a probate court.
  • The SIJS application will include a special order signed by the juvenile court finding that the child is “deemed eligible for long-term foster care,” because of abuse, neglect or abandonment.Eligible for long-term foster caremeans that family reunification is not an option, and generally the child will be expected to remain in foster care until reaching the age of majority, unless the child is adopted or placed in a guardianship situation. The court’s order, or a social worker’s statement, must provide at least a brief reference to facts supporting the finding of abuse, neglect or abandonment.
  • The juvenile court must find that it is not in the child’s best interest to return to her/his country of origin. This can be proven through an interview with the child, a home study in the home country, or other evidence showing there is no known appropriate family in the home country.
  • The child must be under 21 and unmarried. The child’s age can be proven with a birth certificate, passport, official foreign identity document issued by a foreign government. The child can be a parent.
  • The child must remain under juvenile court jurisdiction until the immigration application is finally decided and the child receives the green card. This is important to keep in mind because the immigration interview may not be scheduled until three months to three years, or even longer, after the SIJS application is filed, depending on the local immigration office backlog and complexity of the case.

The Asian Anti-Trafficking Collaborative (AATC)
A collaborative of Asian Pacific Islander Legal outreach, Asian Women’s Shelter, Cameron House and Narika
Cindy Liou (API Legal Outreach)
(415) 567-6255

Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach
(510) 251-2846

Bay Area Legal Aid
(510) 250-5270

International Institute of the Bay Area (IIBA)
(510) 451-2846

Women with Disabilities (DV)


While all survivors experience different forms of abuse, survivors with disabilities may experience domestic violence more intensely with a larger number of abusers and incidents of abuse. Their ability to report the abuse and/or leave their abuser may also be more challenging due to their disability and society’s misconceptions about people with disabilities. The inaccessibility of resources make survivors with disabilities more vulnerable to abuse and possibly allowing the abuse to last for a longer period of time, from childhood in some cases.

Women with disabilities experience the same types of abuse reported by all women survivors, but they are subject to unique forms of abuse. Some examples of abuse include withholding medicine and other assistive devices, like wheelchairs, TTY, and braces, threatening to harm them with necessary equipment and refusing to assist with essential basic needs like eating, bathing and toileting.

Another unique aspect that women with disabilities face is the lack of support from family, friends and agencies which in turn may serve as a barrier to leaving an abusive relationship. Family members, caregivers and intimate partners, may victimize women with disabilities. Acquaintances and staff in institutional settings may also see women with disabilities as vulnerable targets for abuse. Many survivors have been victimized multiple times by different offenders. In addition, existing agencies and resources may not be accessible or sensitive to women who have disabilities and are trying to escape from their abusive situation.

While many women without disabilities leave an abuser an average of 6-7 times, women with disabilities may have even more limited options in finding an accessible domestic violence shelter, ASL interpreter, accessible long term housing and financial assistance before they feel ready to leave. Additionally, actions that may not be considered abusive for other survivors may be extremely harmful to a woman who is disabled.

If a woman who is disabled is being abused by someone who also has a disability, the victim may not be believed because of the misconception that he is incapable of being abusive. The survivor may be fearful of seeking relief in the courts or law enforcement because she does not want to expose the violence in her own community.


Power and Control Wheel: People with Disabilities and Their Caregivers

Safety Issues for Survivors with Disabilities

Please refer to the section on Safety Planning under domestic violence 101. In addition to what is mentioned there, survivors with disabilities may want to also consider the following:

Develop a code word and practice with your children.
Make sure you practice your safety plan with your children and make sure they memorize TTY/telephone numbers to call for safety. This can include developing a code word or signal with your children or with someone you trust so they know when to get help.

Get support and talk to someone about your situation.
Talking to someone about your situation may help you feel less isolated. Perhaps a trusted friend, a domestic violence advocate or maybe attending a support group that is sensitive to your needs may help you strategize what you want to do next or maintain your safety. Talking to other survivors may also help you feel you are not alone.

Learn about technology safety and functions of other necessary equipment that may assist you.
A batterer may be able to retrieve conversations you have via email, including checking the websites you’ve visited and perhaps they may know your email address and password. You may want to create a new email and password. The abuser may also know how to use the memory functions of your TTY and pager and retrieve conversations that way. You may want to hide your TTY and pager if you are strategizing to leave and talk with an advocate that specifically addresses internet or technology safety to keep safe.

Technology Safety Tip Sheet

Call 911.
Make sure you memorize telephone numbers you may need, including shelter numbers and numbers of trusted friends. If you are in danger, dial 911 immediately if you can. You can also use your cell phone to dial 911 but note that they will not be able to trace the call and find your location without having to speak with you. If you are using a landline, just dial 911 with your phone or TTY and leave the phone on the table. The police will be notified.

Sample Safety Planning Questions
The following is a list of sample safety planning questions taken by The Model Safety Planning Protocol to help determine a survivor’s safety:

  • How does your abuser react to your disability in private?
  • What does your abuser tell others about your disability?
  • Do you have any concerns about how your disability might affect our safety?
  • Do the effects of our disability change? If so, what causes the change?
    • Can you predict when changes will happen?
    • How does it affect your safety?
  • Does your abuser do things that make your disability worse?
  • Does your abuser do things that take advantage of your disability?
  • Does your abuser do things that take away your independence?
  • Do you have any thoughts about using DV/SA programs or other community resources?
  • What is your abuser’s involvement with your personal care or disability support service?
  • Has anyone manipulated your medications? Or refused to give them to you?
  • What are your ideas for dealing with [identified barrier to service]?
  • Is there any equipment, medications, or other kinds of technology that help you stay safe?
  • Does your abuser interfere with your use of [items needed for safety]?

Safety Planning: A Guide for Individuals with Physical Disabilities


Statistics on Survivors with Disabilities and Domestic Violence

  • Half of all women will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes. This applies to deaf, hard of hearing and deaf blind women. (1 in 2 women)
  • Approximately 1.3 million women experience physical assault by intimate partner each year
    Studies estimate that between 70%-85% of cases of abuse against women with disabilities go unreported
  • Women with disabilities have a 40% greater risk of violence than those without disabilities.
  • Females who are 18-24 years of age are at the greatest risk for intimate partner violence.

More info:

Further Information

Deaf Women (DV)


Some reasons why it may be hard for a deaf survivor to leave

Increased isolation.
A batterer may take her TTY away and not allow sign language in the house; call her names like “retarded” or make fun that she is deaf. The batterer can also control her SSI checks and threaten her. All this can make the survivor more isolated and feel alone.

Fear of gossip.
The community is very small and if the batterer is someone who has a disability, she may fear that others may know about her situation and feel embarrassed. They may utilize the same resources and confidentiality may be compromised. This makes it difficult to strategize to leave if unsure of whom to trust.

Fear of exposing violence in the community.
As in many other communities, exposing the violence in the community can compound the isolation she may be feeling and therefore many survivors prefer to keep problems internal.

Lack of outreach and education.
Not only are many deaf people not educated about domestic violence and available resources, domestic violence agencies do not tend to reach out to them as effectively unless the organizations tat specifically address survivors who are deaf or who have disabilities. Many survivors do not feel supported in their community and often feel the community supports the batterer.

Organizations and domestic violence resources are inaccessible.
Many deaf survivors do not feel safe going to a domestic violence shelter because of insensitivity to their needs. This increases a deaf person’s isolation and may result in staying with her batterer.

National Resources for Deaf Survivors


Deaf Iowans Against Abuse

Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services

Deaf Vermonter’s Advocacy Services

SegoLily Centerfor Abused Deaf

Communication Services for the Deaf, Inc.

A Safe Place



Advocacy Services for Abused Deaf Victims

Barrier Free Living Inc.

Deaf Women Against Violence Everywhere

Chicago Hearing Society

Peace Over Violence

Abused Deaf Victims Advocacy Network

Power and Control Wheel: People with Disabilities and Their Caregivers

The Power and Control Wheel: People with Disabilities and Their Caregivers shows different examples of abusive behaviors people with disabilities may experience.

The Equality Wheel: People with Disabilities and Their Caregivers gives examples of how a healthy relationship might look like between a person with a disability and their caregiver.


Healthy Relationship Checklist

A healthy relationship is being able to be yourself and do the things you enjoy without being coerced because you are in a relationship with someone else. You do not expect others to make you happy. You respect yourself and love yourself first. A healthy relationship entails having a good time with your partner but also allowing yourself to be comfortable on your own terms without the pressure of the other person. You are able to express your mind without fear of what he might do to you because you think differently, and you are able to say “no” to things you don’t feel comfortable. You feel safe with the person and that person accepts you for who you are and not who he wants you to be for him.

Also see: Kids Health – Healthy Relationships

Here are some things to consider in thinking about what entails a healthy relationship:

  • You have fun together
  • You are able to be yourself
  • You are able to have different opinions and interests
  • You listen to each other
  • You are both able to compromise, apologize and resolve disagreements
  • You don’t spend all your time together. You are able to spend time alone or with your family and friends.
  • You are free to say “no” to the things you don’t want to do.
  • You feel safe and unafraid to be with this person.
  • You feel free to see other friends and family when you need to or want to
  • You feel free to express your opinions and beliefs and to act upon them.
  • You feel free to change your mind.
  • You feel good about yourself when you are with that person.
  • You feel free to end the relationship if you want.

Further Information

Housing (DV)


Women who are victims of domestic violence experience unique housing issues. Women and their children are often forced to move out of their homes away from their abuser to seek other housing where they are safe. In addition to poverty and the lack of affordable housing, women survivors may potentially have to deal with a number of other barriers including poor or no credit history, criminal history resulting from self-defense, coercion or mutual arrest, and stereotypes about survivors (Hyman, A. & Schultzman, M., 2008) [1]

Oftentimes, leaving an abusive relationship means leaving a place of residence. Taking this into consideration, it is not surprising that a major barrier to leaving an abusive relationship is housing. A domestic violence survivor may face many challenges in the area of housing. She may not be able to afford to live on her own, she may have bad credit or may be denied housing due to her history of domestic violence (Hyman, A. & Schultzman, M., 2008) [1]. The reality for many domestic violence survivors is that having consistent and stable housing means staying in an abusive relationship.

When a survivor is ready or able to leave an abusive relationship and finds herself needing to find or keep housing, there are programs, services and some laws that provide some help. Shelters are a form of emergency housing and often have case management services to help a survivor create a plan to get back on her feet. Transitional housing programs offer a longer stay than shelters and usually are subsidized. Sometimes priority is given to domestic violence survivors in public housing. For information on shelters, transitional housing and/or other housing options for domestic violence survivors, contact your local domestic violence agency.

Some financial assistance is available to domestic violence survivors through the Victims of Crime Program. If you have had police involvement in your domestic violence situation, you may qualify for relocation expenses or other expenses related to keeping you safe in your current home. For example, you may get help with changing the locks on your doors. California has a statewide program called Safe At Home which provides domestic violence survivors with a confidential mail forwarding services so that a survivor’s actual residential address is not easily discovered.

Because of past discrimination experienced by domestic violence survivors, certain laws were created to protect the rights of domestic violence survivors. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 2005 states that a person cannot be denied public housing because they are a victim of domestic violence .

In California, the Early Lease Termination Law allows victims of domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault the right to end their lease early without penalty so that they can find safer housing (National Housing Law Project, 2009) [2]. The Federal Fair Housing Act bans landlords and housing providers from discriminating against domestic violence survivors either by denying an application from a domestic violence survivor or evicting a survivor (ACLU, Women’s Rights Project) [3].

[1] Hyman, A. & Schultzman, M. (2008). Housing Rights and Needs of Domestic Violence Survivors (PowerPoint slides from webinar).

[2] National Housing Law Project. (2008). New Law Allows Victims to Break Their Leases to Escape Violence (Fact sheet).

[3] ACLU, Women’s Rights Project


National Housing Law Project
The National Housing Law Project focuses its activities on housing programs that serve the needs of very low-income households and on the rights of the residents in that housing, including domestic violence survivors.

614 Grand Avenue, Suite 320
Oakland, CA 94610

Phone: (510)251-9400
Fax: (510)451-2300

Bay Area Legal Aid
Bay Area Legal Aid serves clients who are low- and very low-income in the following practice areas: housing, domestic violence prevention, public benefits and health care access.

Alameda County
1735 Telegraph Avenue
Oakland, CA 94612

Phone: (510)250-5270

Further Information

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Fact Sheet on Domestic Violence and Housing

The Rights of Domestic Violence Survivors in Public and Subsidized Housing

Housing Discrimination and Domestic Violence

Employment (DV)


DISCLAIMER: This information is meant to provide general information about domestic violence and employment. Please consult with an attorney or other legal agency for more details about any legal questions you have about your work situation.

About Employment and Domestic Violence

Abusive relationships may affect a survivor’s employment in different ways. An abuser may harass his partner at work and possibly jeopardize he employment. This may lead to a poor employment history for the survivor and ruin future job opportunities. On the other hand, having a way of earning income may provide a domestic violence survivor with options of leaving an abusive relationship.

Some of the ways an abuser interferes with a domestic violence survivor’s employment include not letting the survivor go to work, physically abusing her so that tshe is not able to go to work on a particular day and calling her at work (Swanberg & Logan, 2005) [1]. In a study conducted in Maine, domestic violence survivors reported being unable to concentrate at work due to the abuse and being late to work because the abuser started an argument before the survivor was to begin work. Survivors also indicated that the abuser would come onto the worksite to harass the survivor (Ridley, Rioux, Lim, Mason, Houghton, Luppi, & Melody, 2005) [2].

While an abuser can negatively impact a survivor’s employment, having a job can have some positive benefits for the survivor. Having employment can help boost a survivor’s self-esteem as well as her ability to be employed in other jobs. Employment can also offer a survivor a chance to interact with other people and decrease her isolation. Being employed allows a survivor to have an income, and with planning and time may help a survivor leave an abusive relationship.

Taking into consideration the impact of domestic violence on employment, some laws and policies have been created to help protect survivors. In California, if a domestic violence survivor leaves her job in order to keep herself or her family safe, she may be eligible for unemployment insurance because she left for a “good cause”. In addition, in workplaces that employ 25 or more employees, a domestic violence survivor has the right to take time off in order to get domestic violence counseling or medical treatment related to an injury caused by domestic violence

Also see: Legal Aid At Work

[1] Swanberg, J. E. and Logan, T. K. (2005). Domestic Violence and Employment: A Qualitative Study. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. Vol. 10 No. 1 p6.

[2] Ridley, E., Rioux, J., Lim PhD, Kim C., Mason, D., Houghton, K. F., Luppi JD, F., & Melody, T. (2005). Domestic Violence Survivors at Work: How Perpetrators Impact Employment.

Domestic Violence & Employment Power & Control Wheel
This wheel describes how employment can play a key role in helping to prevent abuse. While it does not mean that if a survivor has a job, she will not experience abuse, it shows how being employed can help increase a survivor’s options for leaving an abusive relationship.


The Domestic Violence & Employment Project

  • In California
    (415) 593-0033
  • Outside California
    (888) 864-8335

Domestic Violencew and the Workplace

Further Information

Domestic Violence & Unemployment Insurance If You Must Quit

See: Legal Aid At Work