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Legal options for victims of domestic violence
Victims of domestic violence can seek help from the legal system. Looking to the law for protection, there are two paths a victim can follow: the criminal law and the civil law.
A victim can choose to use either the civil law or the criminal law or to use both at the same time. These two options are very different. All states provide some protection from domestic violence in both the criminal and civil law, but the details of the protections available can be very different.
To use the criminal law for help, a victim begins by calling the police and reporting the abuse. Click here to learn more about how domestic violence victims can use the criminal law for help.
To use the civil law for help, a victim goes to court and asks the court for a restraining order against the abuser. Click here to learn more about how domestic violence victims can use the civil law for help.
If you live in California, click here for more detailed information about California domestic violence law.
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