The Domestic Violence Unit of the Family Violence Division prosecutes domestic violence crimes. This includes misdemeanors and felonies. The Domestic Violence Unit of the Family Violence Division reviews all such cases and determines what charges will be filed. It is our philosophy that domestic violence is a crime against society (not a private family matter) and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Domestic violence crimes involve a defendant (perpetrator) and a victim who know each other and often have children together. Victims are often reluctant to follow through in these cases because of fear, a misplaced sense of loyalty to the perpetrator or a host of other reasons. Because these cases can be difficult on victims, the Domestic Violence Unit of the Family Violence Division is comprised not only of prosecutors but also a paralegal and victim advocate who assist victims through the court process. They can explain the process, accompany victims to court and assist them in getting reimbursement for injury. Victims of domestic violence can also obtain free counseling for themselves and their children. We also ask the courts for protective orders on behalf of the victims.
The Domestic Violence Unit of the Family Violence Division also handles stalking cases. Stalking victims often believe that reporting a stalker will lead to him/her increasing the harassment. We will walk victims through the process, support them and hold stalkers accountable.
Domestic violence is an escalating pattern of abuse where one partner in an intimate relationship controls the other through force, intimidation, or the threat of violence. Abuse comes in many forms:
- Physical: kicking, punching, shoving, slapping, pushing, and any other acts which hurt the body.
- Sexual: calling vulgar names, criticizing body parts or sensuality, forced or pressured sexual acts, including rape.
- Emotional: assaults against self-esteem
- Verbal: name-calling, threats, put-downs.
- Psychological: causing one to feel as if he/she is "going crazy".
- Spiritual: attacking spiritual or religious beliefs.
- Financial: controlling and manipulating by threatening economic status and basic needs.
- Homophobic: threatening to "out" someone to people who do not know that person's sexual orientation
- Immigration: using immigration status and fear of deportation to control.
- Destructive: acts actual or threatened assault of property or pets to scare.
A woman is beaten every nine seconds in the United States. Domestic violence is the most under-reported crime in the country, with the actual incidence 5 times higher than is reported.
Eighty percent of children who live in homes where domestic violence occurs witness the abuse.
Lesbian and gay domestic violence occurs in approximately one-third of these relationships, about as often as in heterosexual relationships.
On average, four women in the United States are murdered every day by their male partner. In Santa Clara County, there were 6 deaths as a result of domestic violence in 2006. Women in the U.S. are in nine times more danger in their own homes than they are in the street. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 95 percent of reported spousal assaults are committed by men against women. Assaults committed by women against men occur in approximately 5 to 10 percent of domestic violence matters. About 17 percent of women report experiencing physical or sexual violence during pregnancy. Battering prior to pregnancy is the primary predictor that battering will occur during pregnancy.
For more information on obtaining a restraining order (stay away order) please visit the Santa Clara County Superior Court's webpage
. For Judicial Council approved forms for the prevention of domestic violence, which can be completed online and then filed with the Superior Court.
For More Information Please Contact:
Phone: (408) 792-2537