There are many reasons that victims of domestic violence don’t want to report domestic violence to the police, but taking this step can possibly save your life or your children’s lives. If you feel safe enough to, you should report any occurrence of domestic violence in your home to the police. When it comes to reporting domestic abuse, there are a variety of outcomes that can take place. On this page, we’ll explore the California laws regarding domestic violence, resources and implications of reporting domestic abuse in these following sections:
- Domestic violence laws in California
- Report domestic violence anonymously
- Does reporting domestic abuse affect your divorce?
- How a family lawyer can help you
The information found on this page and anywhere else on this website is not to be considered legal advice. For legal advice, please contact a family lawyer who can speak with you about your situation. To learn more about a domestic violence attorney, visit this page.
Domestic Violence Laws in California
Domestic violence deals with abuse towards:
- A spouse or former spouse
- A cohabitant or former cohabitant
- A person with whom the victim is having or had a dating/engagement relationship with
- A person with whom the victim has had a child with
- A child of the victim
- Any other person related by consanguinity or affinity (related by blood or marriage)
California says that Domestic violence occurs when the abuser:
- Physically harms or tries to harm someone, on purpose or by being reckless (includes: hitting, kicking, shoving, pushing, pulling of hair, throwing things, scaring or following a person, or detaining you illegally. Physical harm can also include the hurting of family pets)
- Engages in sexual assault
- Threatens or promises to hurt someone, making the victim fear for his/her own safety
- Threatening behavior such as: stalking, threatening, or hitting someone, disturbing the peace, or destroying another person’s property
Report Domestic Violence Anonymously
When you fear someone close to you, it can get to a terrifying point where you fear for your life. It’s a personal choice to proceed with reporting domestic violence, but it’s important to understand the implications it may have.
Reporting domestic abuse is calling the police department or other relevant local authorities. By reporting to these authorities,
- you initiate the process of prosecuting the individual who performed the acts of violence
- you can file a restraining order against the individual
If you want something to be done about the domestic violence, the necessary first step is to report domestic abuse to law enforcers. To report domestic violence anonymously, there are several different methods that you can use:
- Call 911 – say that you want to report domestic violence anonymously. You can withhold your name. This reporting can be done by the victim or a witness of the act of violence. If the person on the other end of the line asks how you know there is domestic violence happening, you can say “I heard it” or “I saw it”. You don’t need to say that you are the victim or that you are a neighbor, living next door. All you need to do is state the details of the abuse that you witnessed and provide the location/address.
- Contact the Domestic Violence Hotline – There is a National Domestic Violence Hotline that you can call, while remaining anonymous. The hotline is free and confidential. The phone number for the national hotline is 1-800-799-7233; it is open to calls 24/7.
- Report anonymously online – The National Domestic Violence Hotline is also reachable online. You can go to thehotline.org and anonymously chat with someone in real-time. When you enter the website there is a pop-up notification with a warning about computer monitoring. If you suspect that your computer activity is being monitored by the person who is abusive, they recommend that you call the Domestic Violence Hotline over the telephone instead.
Does Reporting Domestic Abuse Affect Your Divorce?
It is important to note that reporting domestic violence by your spouse does not automatically mean that you will have a divorce. However, reporting domestic abuse does have an effect on your divorce. When you report domestic violence, you are creating evidence of it which can be the proof you need to show in a divorce proceeding. Here are some ways that reporting domestic abuse affects your divorce in California:
- If a spouse is convicted of domestic violence within the last 5 years, the court is likely to not order spousal support to be paid to him/her. However, there is a chance for the alleged abuser to rebut this ruling, claiming that the domestic abuse allegations were false. To learn more about this subject, visit our main domestic violence webpage.
- Because judges rule on child custody based on ensuring the child’s health, welfare, and safety, domestic violence is taken into account. The abuser will likely not get custody of the child, but like spousal support cases he/she can rebut this ruling if he/she can prove that the abuse allegations are false.
- When a restraining order (due to domestic violence) is in effect, the spouses cannot meet together to resolve issues of a divorce. This is likely to result in a more expensive divorce because it will have to use the service of divorce lawyers or mediators.
- A showing of domestic violence is an enormous help if you plan to file a emergency motion to kick you husband or wife out of the house to protect your kids.
How a Family Lawyer Can Help You
According to the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, a ridiculously high number of 40% of California women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. A family lawyer can help you figure out what you need to do to stop the domestic violence, by helping you report the violence or filing a restraining order against the perpetrator. Although California is a no-fault divorce state, reporting domestic violence can help ensure that you won’t have to worry about your children being put in danger by the child custody order. Talk to a family lawyer today if you are a victim of domestic violence and need to take legal action.