CA Domestic Strife Restraining Order System Problematic


California’s system of restraining orders in domestic violence cases fails to deliver the protection it promises, says the Orange County Register. The paper says the system “has become a legal labyrinth where rules aren’t the same as reality, procedures differ from courthouse to courthouse, and violators often benefit more than victims.” In one case a woman applied for a restraining order in the wrong courthouse; the request was put on hold, and her husband shot her to death that night.

An Orange County Register survey of all 58 California counties, and interviews with judges, law-enforcement officials, victims of domestic violence and their advocates revealed systemic problems, clerical glitches and judicial inconsistencies. Among the findings: Eleven counties require the person requesting a restraining order to give advance notice to the person from whom they are seeking protection. Such a warning can inflame a combustible relationship or help abusers avoid being served with the order. Almost one-third of restraining orders are listed as unserved, making them invalid. An order cannot be enforced until it is served.


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