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Domestic Violence

If you are in danger or need immediate assistance, call or text 911.

Domestic violence, also called intimate partner violence, is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological and includes tactics such as intimidation, isolation, manipulation, and threats to inflict harm.

The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office is a national leader on domestic violence legislation, sponsoring Senate Bill 1141 (2021, Sen. Rubio), which added coercive control to the California Family Code definition of domestic abuse. This can now form the basis for a restraining order in family court.


If you need someone to talk to, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TDD 800-787-3224 and online at The hotline is free, available 24/7, and confidential. Staff can help you in numerous languages and direct you to services and/or a local shelter, the location of which is kept confidential. You can also Text "START" to 88788.

If you are between the ages of 13-18 and need support services or someone to talk to about teen dating violence, chat live at Love Is Respect, text "loveis" to 22522, or call 866-331-9474 or TDD 866-331-8453. Calls are free and confidential.

Court Support

Resources for Victims of Crime



  • Computer use can be monitored and it is very difficult to completely clear all website footprints. If you are in danger, please use a safe computer that your abuser cannot access directly or remotely.
  • Email is not a safe way to talk to someone about the abuse in your life.
  • There are hundreds of ways to record everything you do on the computer and sites that you access on the internet.
  • If you think your activities are being monitored, they probably are. Use a computer at a public library, a trusted friend's house or a computer lab to access resources and information. Any indication that you're planning on leaving your situation could increase your danger.
  • It is not possible to delete or clear all computer information for footprints. Erasing or deleting files and/or history could also alert your abusive partner or ex-partner and possibly increase your danger.
  • Spyware can be installed easily on a computer and smart phone and it is hard to detect. Every key stroke, text message, conversation and GPS location can be seen and heard by someone monitoring you.
  • The myPlan app is a customized assessment tool that provides resources, support, and safety planning to anyone in an abusive relationship.
  • Visit Technology Safety for more tips for online safety.

Shelter and Support Services

1736 Family Crisis Center
213-745-6434, 213-222-1237, 
310-370-5902, 310-379-3620

The People Concern (Sojourn)

Haven Hills, Inc.

Jenesse Center, Inc.

Center for the Pacific Asian Family (CPAF)
(specialty with AAPI clients)

Rainbow Services, Ltd.

Jewish Family Service of L.A.
818-505-0900, 323-681-2626 

SAHARA (South Asian Helpline and Referral Agency)

Su Casa -Ending Domestic Violence

Women and Children's Crisis Shelter

Women Shelter of Long Beach

East L.A. Women's Center


Legal Aid

Break the Cycle
(for anyone 12 to 24 years old) 

Community Legal Aid SoCal

Legal Aid Foundation of L.A.

LGBTQ Center of Long Beach

L.A. LGBT Center

L.A. Center for Law and Justice

Neighborhood Legal Services of L.A.

Harriet Buhai Center for Family Law

Bet Tzedek

Coalition for Economic Survival

Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights L.A.
1-888-624-4752, 213-353-1333 

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California
English: 888-349-9695
普通话/广东话: 800-520-2356
한국어: 800-867-3640
Tagalog: 855-300-2552
हिन्दी: 855-971-2552
ภาษาไทย: 800-914-9583
Tiếng Việt: 714-477-2958



How does a misdemeanor domestic violence case move through the criminal justice system?

The City Attorney’s Office receives domestic violence cases from LAPD. When cases are brought forward, a deputy city attorney reviews the police report and additional evidence to determine whether there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime has occurred. Depending upon his or her review, the City Attorney’s Office may or may not file a criminal case against the person who was arrested. It is important to understand that the victim of a crime does not make the decision about whether or not to file a case. This office has a "No-Drop Policy," meaning that the victim is not able to drop charges in a family violence case. The No-Drop Policy relieves the victim of any undue pressure to drop charges and holds abusers accountable for their crimes.

  • Arrest
    The police may arrest the suspect and hold him or her in jail for 48 hours or until they can post bail. Even if the police arrests a suspect, they may be released from jail sooner than 48 hours.
  • Arraignment
    If criminal charges are filed, the person arrested – now called the defendant – is brought to court by the sheriff if in custody or ordered to appear in court if not in custody. At the arraignment, the defendant may plead guilty (admitting the charges), no contest (not fighting the charges) or not guilty. If the defendant pleads not guilty, the judge sets dates for a pre-trial hearing and a trial. At arraignment, the victim of a domestic violence crime can get an order from the court ordering the defendant to stay away from them and/or their children. This is called a Criminal Protective Order (a "CPO").
  • Master Calendar Court
    The case will be called in this courtroom for a pre-trial hearing. The defendant may plead guilty or no contest at this time or the case may proceed to trial.
  • Trial Court
    If the defendant does not admit the offense by pleading guilty or no contest, the case goes to trial, usually before a jury. At trial, witnesses, and maybe the defendant, will testify. As the victim of domestic violence, you will likely be called to testify. If you do not speak English, the Court will provide an interpreter for you. If you have been served with a subpoena or ordered by the Judge, you must appear in court on the date and time indicated. After all the evidence has been submitted, the jury will decide if the prosecution has proven the case beyond a reasonable doubt. The majority of cases do not go all the way to trial.
  • Sentencing
    The judge will determine the sentence, including whether to send the defendant to jail. As the victim, you have the right to come to court and share information with the judge that you feel may be helpful for sentencing.
  • City Attorney Hearing
    If formal criminal charges are not filed against the person arrested, the City Attorney’s Office may hold a hearing which aims to strengthen the safety and security of victims of family violence and their children by providing an effective alternative to prosecution. If the case is set for a hearing, both the person arrested and the victim will receive a letter informing them of when and where it will be held. At the hearing, a Hearing Officer will review the case, educate the parties about the law and provide resources and referrals as needed.
What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?

A misdemeanor is a crime that is punishable by up to one year in county jail. Crimes that are punishable by death or imprisonment in the state prison are felonies. California also has crimes called “wobblers” which can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor.

What is the difference between the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office and the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office?

While both offices prosecute crimes, there are two important differences. First, the Office of L.A. City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto prosecutes crimes within the city limits of L.A., whereas the Office of L.A. District Attorney George Gascón prosecutes crimes that occur throughout the County of L.A. The City Attorney’s Office prosecutes misdemeanor offenses only. Felony offenses are prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office.

What kind of crimes are considered domestic violence crimes?

California Penal Code Section 273.5 deals directly with injuries caused by an intimate partner; however, there are many other crimes that occur when violence enters an intimate relationship. For example, Penal Code section 243(e)(1) [Battery against an intimate partner]; Penal Code Section 646.9 [Stalking]; Penal Code Section 245 [Assault with a Deadly Weapon]; Penal Code Section 602 [Trespass]; Penal Code Section 459 [Burglary]; Penal Code Section 594 [Vandalism]; Penal Code Section 273.6 [Violation of a Domestic Violence Protective Order].

Do I have to be a victim of domestic violence to call a hotline?

No. Domestic violence hotlines can help family members and friends of domestic violence victims.

What if the only time they hit me is when they’re drinking or doing drugs? What if all they need is to go to a program?

Alcohol and drugs may be present during episodes of domestic violence but that is not an excuse. Domestic violence is a crime whether they are using or not.

What are the Victim's Bill of Rights (Marsy's Law)?

Enacted in California in 2008, Marsy's Law is the Victim's Bill of Rights in California. It provides all victims of crime and their families with rights and due process.