A victim’s visit to Orange County, Ca.’s Domestic Violence Assistance Program can be a daylong process that for many clients results in a 25-day restraining order against a spouse, former spouse, relative, girlfriend, or boyfriend, says the Los Angeles Times. “It feels like you’re a lighthouse,” said Giovanna Businaro, the program’s supervisor. “If they want to find you, they can.”
The program is a final stop for many broken relationships, with roughly 20 people coming in daily to use its free services. Counselors provide hand-holding as the clients, most of them women, fill out piles of paperwork before going to courtrooms in the hope that a judge will grant the order. Most people seeking temporary restraining orders get them, although judges deny about a dozen of the 200 to 300 requests filed each month. Some clients change their minds at the last minute and decide not to ask for them; 42 people in October opted not to seek orders. Business is steady year round, with a cross-section of clients – rich and impoverished, all races, and the occasional celebrity.