Here’s What You Should Know About Domestic Violence in California

Domestic violence

Domestic violence can destroy families and rip apart the very social fabric of society. The law has been designed from the ground up to prevent and stop domestic violence, and suitably rehabilitate perpetrators. Domestic violence in California is defined as any criminal offense that involves committing a battery on one’s spouse, parent, cohabitant, or partner. It is charged under the California Penal Code 243(e)(1).

The most common charges for domestic violence in California include:

  • Child Endangerment (PC 273a)
  • Corporal Injury to a Spouse or Cohabitant (PC 273.5)
  • Child Abuse (PC 273d)
  • Criminal Threats (PC 422)

Victims of domestic violence carry feelings of self-doubt and even helplessness, which makes it important to seek help. Below are 4 types of domestic violence in California.


Physical abuse usually starts gradually, such as with a slap or a push, and then becomes progressively worse with time. The use of force doesn’t need to cause a minor or major injury to be considered domestic abuse. For example, if the abuser slaps their victim a few times would constitute as domestic violence even if it doesn’t lead to hospitalization.


Emotional abuse isn’t as easy to recognize as physical abuse. It involves attempts to control, frighten, or isolate a person. In California, emotional abuse is recognized as domestic violence that is punishable by law. The perpetrator does not have to physically injure their spouse to be held liable for domestic abuse. If convicted, the person could face huge fines and in some cases, even jail time.

In other states, the evidence of emotional abuse is used along with other abuse (physical, sexual, or financial), to apply domestic violence action.


Sexual abuse is one of the most common types of domestic violence. It not only includes rape and sexual assault, but also harassment, such as unwelcome sexual advances touching. Few victims realize it when sexual abuse is taking place. One example of sexual violence is being forced to have an abortion, or being coerced into not using contraception.


Financial abuse isn’t as obvious as physical abuse because it takes on many subtle forms, such as one’s spouse preventing their partner from obtaining a job or education outside their home. Financial abuse is more likely to happen in cases when spouses put all their savings in a joint account and withhold control to only one partner.

Victims of financial abuse are completely dependent on their partners for money. Without another source of sustenance except through their abusive partner, the victim is at their partner’s mercy. And if children are involved, it could lead to neglect.

The Importance of Getting Help

It isn’t uncommon for victims to justify the actions of their abuser and hold onto the hope that their situation will perhaps improve.  Yet most situations involving domestic violence tend to escalate. What may begin as threats of violence, aggressive sexual advances, and intimidation, can eventually escalate to physical assault, rape, and even murder.

Children that grow around domestic violence often acquire violent traits and personalities in their adult life.

Although the more obvious forms of domestic violence are usually used as a basis for legal action, all forms are considered to be harmful to the victim. If you’re a victim of domestic abuse, you should seek help. Contact an experienced criminal law attorney to protect yourself.


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