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Northern California Tribal Court Coalition
Frequently Asked Questions - Domestic Abuse Prevention
What is Domestic Violence?

Q: What is Domestic Violence?

A: 

Domestic violence is abuse or threats of abuse when the person being abused and the abuser are or have been in an intimate relationship (married or domestic partners, are dating or used to date, live or lived together, or have a child together). It is also when the abused person and the abusive person are closely related by blood or by marriage.

The domestic violence laws say “abuse” is:

  • Physically hurting or trying to hurt someone, intentionally or recklessly;
  • Sexual assault;
  • Making someone reasonably afraid that they or someone else are about to be seriously hurt (like threats or promises to harm someone); OR
  • Behavior like harassing, stalking, threatening, or hitting someone; disturbing someone’s peace; or destroying someone’s personal property.

The physical abuse is not just hitting. Abuse can be kicking, shoving, pushing, pulling hair, throwing things, scaring or following you, or keeping you from freely coming and going. It can even include physical abuse of the family pets.

Also, keep in mind that the abuse in domestic violence does not have to be physical. Abuse can be verbal (spoken), emotional, cultural or psychological. You do not have to be physically hit to be abused. Often, abuse takes many forms, and abusers use a combination of tactics to control and have power over the person being abused. Read more about domestic violence and abuse .

If you are being abused in any of these ways or you feel afraid or controlled by your partner or someone you are close with, it may help you to talk to a domestic violence counselor, even if you do not want (or are not sure if you want) to ask for legal protection. Find domestic violence resources  in your county.

Your Tribe may have domestic violence prevention laws. Additionally, California has domestic violence laws starting with California Family Code section 6203 . You can find criminal domestic violence laws in the California Penal Code, like Penal Code section 273.5 , Penal Code section 243(e)(1), and others.



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