Legal Services

Find out some of the various precautions you can take to protect yourself.


Survivors of Domestic Violence  have a variety of legal issues they must overcome. These  legal issues are challenging and can threaten their safety, housing, employment, custody, and immigration status.  WRC provides legal information and referrals to programs that are sensitive and knowledgeable of the special needs domestic violence survivors have.

Please call our hotline Mon-Friday 24 hrs a day 7 days a week or come by the office to speak with a case manager.

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Each of the courthouses in San Diego County have restraining order clinics.  At these clinics you can obtain the proper paperwork and the volunteers can assist you in filling out the paperwork.  There are no fees associated with these clinics or to obtain a domestic violence restraining order.  The clinics can be very busy and limited on volunteers.  To make the process faster it is a good idea to print the paperwork and fill out all that you can before arriving. Clients of WRC can call and speak to their case manager to request an advocate attend a restraining order court appearance with them.  Advocates can not speak on behalf of the client and are only present as a support system.  If you need to become a client of WRC please call the hotline and set up an appointment with a case manager 760-757-3500.



A domestic violence restraining order (DVRO) is a civil court order that is signed by a judge and tells the abuser to stop the abuse or face serious legal consequences.  It offers civil legal protection from domestic violence to both female and male victims.  There are 3 types of restraining orders: Emergency Protective Order (EPO) is issued when a police officer who has responded to an incident calls and speaks to a judge. It only lasts for 5 days, long enough for the protected person to get to a courthouse to file paperwork for a permanent order. Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) is issued if you feel you are in immediate danger and need protection right away.  The judge will grant you a TRO which can order the abuser to leave the home, have no contact with you, and offer many other forms of protection until your permanent restraining order court date. Permanent Restraining Order requires a court hearing in front of a judge and allows the abuser the opportunity respond.  This order can last 3 to 5 years and allows for an extension to be filed 3 months before it is meant to expire.


You can file for a domestic violence restraining order if you or your minor child have been the victims of domestic violence from:

  • A spouse or former spouse
  • A person you are dating or used to date (it does not have to be a sexual relationship), including a same-sex partner
  • The mother or father of your child
  • A person related to you by blood, marriage, or adoption (such as a mother, father, child, brother, sister, grandparent, or in-law)
  • A person who regularly lives or used to live in your home (but you must have a closer relationship than just roommates.
  • The address for the person you would like restrained
  • Date of birth for the person you would like restrained
  • Physical description of the person you would like restrained
  • Photographs of any injuries
  • Police report

For more information on restraining orders, divorce, and other legal matters a great resource is was founded in February 2000 by Elizabeth Martin with the help of a group of lawyers, teachers, advocates, and web designers who were interested in seeing the power of the Internet help survivors of domestic violence.  In 2001, the website was launched to provide state-specific legal information and resources for survivors of domestic violence.

Legal Aid of San Diego, Inc. has a north county office in Oceanside. Legal Aid is available to low income individuals & disadvantaged communities for a variety of legal problems, including consumer, family disputes, welfare and health benefits, immigration and poverty law issues such as landlord/tenant disputes, disability support and family benefits payments. Federal Poverty Income Guidelines determine eligibility for free legal services.


WRC is an official agency that can assist domestic violence survivors in their enrollment to the Safe At Home program. The Safe At Home program is run by the Secretary of State’s office in California.
The Safe At Home program will give you a substitute mailing address to use on official documents, including:
  • your court papers
  • your driver’s license
  • your voter registration papers
  • if you decide to get married while on the programs, your address will remain confidential on those documents as well.
Any first-class or government mail sent to you at that address will be forwarded within 48 hours.
  • Any Service of Process delivered to the address also will be passed on to you.
  • If you follow the rules, you can use the address for up to four (4) years.
If you are interested in enrolling in the program call and make an appointment to go through the application process with a Case Manager.
If you are a lawyer or a paralegal and would like to offer your services to WRC please contact the Deputy of Client Services Jill Morgan
Call Our Toll-Free 24-Hour Domestic Violence Crisis Hotline

(760) 757-3500