Living under the threat of domestic violence seriously impacts physical and emotional health and safety. Victims of abuse experience feelings of anxiety, depression, and shame. Because domestic violence involves one party using threats, fear, intimidation, and violence to exert control over the other, the abused victim often feels helpless and hopeless.
San Francisco considers domestic violence a significant public health threat. The San Francisco Department of Public Health offers resources for domestic violence victims to seek help and safety, including crisis lines and emergency shelters.
Assessing Safety in Domestic Violence Situations
The San Francisco Department of Public Health describes domestic violence as a pattern of behavior in the home in which one person engages in coercive behavior that may involve any of the following:
- Physical abuse
- Threats of physical abuse
- Psychological abuse
- Social isolation
- Economic control
Domestic violence typically occurs between partners in an intimate relationship including same-sex relationships. You can assess your safety by asking yourself the following:
- Are you afraid to go home?
- Have there been threats of homicide or suicide?
- Are there weapons in your home?
- Can you stay with a family member or friend, or go to a shelter?
- Do you require immediate police intervention? (Call 911 or silently text 911 for immediate help)
Resources For Domestic Violence Victims in San Francisco
The San Francisco Sheriff’s Office supports domestic violence victims by offering resources, issuing restraining orders, and operating a restoration program for survivors of domestic abuse. There is also a 24-hour hotline offering help and resources for victims of domestic violence at 1-800-799-7233 or use the “Chat with Advocates” feature.
Other available resources for abuse victims in San Francisco include:
- Look to End Abuse Permanently (LEAP)
- The San Francisco Violence Prevention Network
- The Intimate Partner Violence Strategic Plan
- The Child & Adolescent Support Advocacy & Resource Center
- Maternal, Child & Adolescent Health
- La Casa de Las Madres
For crisis domestic violence situations in the San Francisco region, you can seek counseling and a safety plan through W.O.M.A.N., Inc, or seek an emergency shelter for female victims of domestic violence.
No one should have to live with the threat of violence, and children should never remain in danger or in a home situation in which they witness acts of violence.
Obtaining a Domestic Violence Restraining Order
If you are ready to leave a violent abuser but fear for your safety, you can apply for a domestic violence restraining order in San Francisco. This order restricts your abuser from coming within a specified distance of you or from contacting you, harassing you, or otherwise disturbing your peace. You can file a petition for a domestic violence restraining order by using online forms with easy question-and-answer sections and an instructional video.
After submitting your petition a judge will review it, and if they’re approved, officials serve the restraining order to the respondent. Your protection begins immediately with a temporary restraining order until the hearing date. At the hearing, you’ll be expected to testify and present evidence to ask for a permanent restraining order. A permanent restraining order lasts for 5 years. The judge will also hear testimony from the alleged abuser before making a decision on a permanent restraining order.