Expert Trauma Informed Domestic Violence Advocacy

Love Shouldn't Hurt. Ever.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Psalm 139

Domestic Violence is a learned pattern of ‘power and control’ where the abuser uses anyone or anything to exert power and control over an intimate partner. 

If you are confused if your experience is classified as domestic violence, you are not alone. You are not crazy. You did nothing to deserve being mistreated.

Attorney Kuyateh delivers trauma informed advocacy that very few attorneys can deliver. She has prosecuted hundreds of domestic violence cases and understands the complex nature of this area of law. We're here when you're ready.

 
 

Exposing Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is not just limited to physically attacking another person. Before physical violence occurs, other actions are made to purposely to invoke fear or assert control. Domestic violence always escalates without intervention.


If you are afraid for your or your children’s safety, you may be a victim of domestic violence. We're here to help.

Domestic violence takes many malicious forms, often overlapping each other such as:

Physical abuse such as hitting, slapping, biting, kicking, shoving, and burning, and other acts of violence. This also includes forcing someone to consume drugs or alcohol, or denying a person necessary medical treatment.

Sexual abuse, such as forced sexual acts and acts related to sex that are performed without the victim’s conscious consent. It is important to note that even people who are dating or married can be victims of sexual abuse if the sexual acts are unwanted and forceful.

Emotional or psychological abuse, such as extremely antagonizing or demeaning someone to the extent that it is interfering with the victim’s daily functioning or invoking extreme fear in a person such as trying to prohibit them to leave the house

Economic abuse, such as when an abuser makes a victim financially dependent on them by seizing control of their shared financial resources or preventing the victim from attending school or going to work.

Destruction of a person’s personal property, which includes financial assets and businesses.

Threats to injure the victim or a person close to the victim such as their child or other immediate family members.

Harassment such as stalking and cyberstalking.


Extortion or sextortion over a victim threating to publish secrets, media, or other private information in order to control or coercise the victim into staying or taking an action they otherwise would not.

In order for the abuse to be considered domestic violence under the Family Code, the abuser must be a person that the victim has a close relationship with. A spouse or ex-spouse of the victim, a person that the victim is dating or has a sexual relationship with, the parent of the victim’s children, a roommate of the victim, or another close family member of the victim such as a sibling or grandparent.


It is important to know that for relationships outside these, the law considers them civil harassment or general violence.

 

Understand the Cycle of Violence

Tension Building >> Explosion >> Honeymoon Phase >> Repeat

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Protect Yourself With a Restraining Order

If you are in an abusive relationship, the first thing you need to do after you stabilize your immediate safety is seek a Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO). 

There are several types of DVROs and knowing which one to file is an important step in the legal process. Having someone to advocate for you in court proceedings is crucial for victims because it can be a scary and intimidating process. You don't have to do it alone. We can help so you can focus on healing.

Emergency Protective Orders (EPO) – This type of order is requested by the police in the immediate aftermath of a domestic violence dispute. Judges are available 24/7 to respond to a request to issue an EPO, which lasts five to seven days. An EPO gives a victim protection for a few days so that they may have time to file a temporary DVRO. 

Temporary Restraining Orders (TRO) – This type of DVRO is awarded after you file for a DVRO in court and the judge determines you are in fact in need protection because of an immediate risk of harm. A temporary restraining order can can issue emergency custody orders to legally prevent one spouse from running off with their children.  They usually last between 20 and 25 days, until the court hearing date for a permanent restraining order. In San Diego County, these are typically awarded on an Ex parte basis. 

Ex Parte Orders  – Generally TROs issued by the court without notifying the alleged abuser. It is typically awarded in emergencies such as protecting children from harm and is usually temporary in nature. In order to be granted an Ex Parte Order, the victim must prove that great harm or injury would occur if the immediate action is not taken to protect them. These orders are temporary and only last until the hearing in which the judge determines if a permanent restraining order should be granted.

Restraining Order After Hearing or Permanent Restraining Orders– This type of order is issued after a court hearing and after the court sets specific restrictions for the protection of the victim. They can last up to five years and be renewed if necessary. 

Criminal Stay Away Protective Order – This type of order is filed by the district attorney and is issued to protect people during a criminal proceeding. If the defendant is found guilty of the criminal charges, then the stay away protective order will be in effect for three more years after the trial is over. Victims who still feel threatened after three years may file for an additional restraining order.

It is important to note that although restraining orders are civil, failing to comply with certain aspects of the restraining order is a criminal offense. 

If a restrained person disobeys the terms in the restraining order, they may have a criminal charge on their record and will face fines, jail time, or both.

Restraining Order to Protect Financial Assets - Divorce proceedings tend to bring out the worst in people and may cause spouses to act with malice, even if it is contrary to their nature. It is not uncommon for spouses to freeze or empty accounts, attempt to destroy their spouse’s business by calling their associates or clients, or alter life insurance policies.

If a spouse feels that their financial freedom or property is threatened, they may file a temporary restraining order to prevent their spouse from making major financial changes that can have detrimental consequences. Spouses who want to protect their business or their financial assets have the right to file a restraining order if they believe that their spouse has the intent to destroy their financial assets.

Financial restraining orders can allow spouses to legally prevent:

  • The clearing of bank accounts by one spouse (This is in case the protected spouse believes they are at risk of having their money removed from the account and thus becoming financially dependent on the other spouse)

  • The sale of major assets such as a house, car, or business

  • The contacting of business partners and clients to keep the restrained spouse from destroying the protected spouse’s business during the divorce proceedings

  • The borrowing of shared assets or allowing such assets to be used as collateral

  • The cancellation of insurance so that the restrained spouse may not cancel the protected spouse’s insurance

  • The clearing or withdrawing of retirement assets, which may be challenging to replace after their removal