Public Resources - Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is a crime.

If you are being harassed, threatened or physically abused by your partner or ex-partner, you have a right to be protected. The Sonoma County Sheriff's Department is committed to protecting all victims of domestic violence. If you are, or have been involved in a violent relationship and require Sheriff's assistance, please call the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department immediately. When the Deputy arrives, he can protect you from immediate danger or harm. In order to provide for your immediate safety, the following legal options are available. Read these carefully and remember, no one deserves to be abused.

Arrest / Citation Procedure

There are three options for proceeding once the Deputy arrives. In situations where the Deputy either witnesses the offense or where the victim sustains a serious or visible injury, the Deputy can make a DEPUTY ARREST. It is important to remember that, even if arrested, the suspect may post bail and be released at any time. As the victim, you have a right to be informed of the suspect's release from custody. Contact the Sonoma County Jail and tell them that you want to be notified immediately prior to the suspect's release. If the Deputy did not witness the assault and there is no serious or visible injury, the Deputy has two options. Dependant on the circumstances, the Deputy may make an arrest or inform you of your right to make a CITIZEN'S ARREST in this type of situation. This allows the Deputy to take the suspect into custody. If you choose to make a citizen's arrest, you will be required to sign a citizen's arrest form and provide the Deputy with a signed, written statement describing the circumstances surrounding the crime.

If the suspect has no history of assault, the Deputy may elect to issue a CITATION AND RELEASE. This will require the suspect to appear in court but not go to jail at that time. If the suspect has been previously cited for assault or has previously violated a temporary restraining order, the suspect will likely be taken to jail by the Deputy.

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Restraining Orders

Emergency Protective Orders
Deputy Sheriffs can obtain an Emergency Protective Order against the suspect if all of the following apply to your situation:


  • You are living with or have recently lived with or have had a dating relationship with the suspect, and there is an incidence of violence or threat of violence against you or your children.
  • You call the Sheriff and the suspect is present or in the immediate area when the Deputy arrives.
  • The Deputy has reasonable grounds to believe that you or your children are in immediate and serious danger of domestic violence.

The Emergency Protective Order will remain in effect until 5:00 p.m. on the fifth court day, or the seventh calendar day following its issuance, whichever comes first. This action is designed to provide you with immediate legal protection until you are able to obtain a Temporary Restraining Order from the courts.

Temporary Restraining Orders
Documents necessary to request a Temporary Restraining Order are available, free of charge, at the Superior Court Family Law Clerk’s Office, located at the Civil and Family Law Courthouse, 3055 Cleveland Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95403, 707-521-6630. If you need assistance in completing the forms, contact Legal Aid of Sonoma County (1105 North Dutton Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95401, 707-542-1290) or the YWCA (707-546-1234). Completed documents must be returned to the Superior Court Family Law Clerk’s Office.

Judges review and sign the petitions Monday through Friday. Please call the Clerk's Office for the times. Once a Temporary Restraining Order has been issued, file one copy with the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office and keep another with you at all times.

  • Order the suspect to stay a specified distance away from you and our children.
  • Order the suspect to stay away from your home, work, children's school, or child care provider.
  • Order the suspect to move out of your home, even if the suspect is a co-owner or co-lessee.
  • Give you custody of your children and make visitation orders.
  • Order the payment of child support.
  • Order the suspect not to contact you or your family by phone.
  • Order the suspect to make payments on specific debts and bills.
  • Order the suspect and victim to participate in counseling.
  • The Penal Code Section for violation of these orders cannot be enforced until the person to be restrained has been served notice or has been advised by the court.


Civil Suit

As a victim of domestic violence, you have the right to file a civil suit against your abuser. You may sue for losses suffered as a result of the abuse including medical expenses, loss of earnings or other costs related to your injuries. You may also claim damage to your property or expenses incurred by any agency sheltering you after the abuse.

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Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is a crime, whether committed by a stranger, an acquaintance, a relative, or even your spouse. If you are the victim of a sexual assault, you should take the following steps:


    1. Go immediately to a safe place and call for assistance.
    2. If you are injured, seek medical help immediately.
    3. Do not bathe, shower, douche or dispose of your clothing.

When the Deputy arrives, provide information about what happened to you and who was responsible. If you are the victim of a sexual assault, contact the Sheriff's Department as soon as possible. The sooner the crime is reported, the greater the odds are of arresting and convicting the suspect. When the Sheriff's Deputy arrives, you will be asked some questions in order to obtain preliminary information about what happened and who was responsible.

Depending on the circumstances and nature of the assault, you may need a medical examination. You should take a complete change of clothing with you. The clothes worn at the time of the assault will be collected by the Deputy because they may provide valuable evidence against the suspect.

During the course of the investigation, feel free to ask the Deputy any questions you may have about the procedures being followed. You have the right to request that your name not become a matter of public record. Pursuant to Penal Code 679.04, you have a right to have an advocate present during an interview by Law Enforcement authorities, the district attorney or defense attorneys. Pursuant to Penal Code 264.2, a Deputy will immediately notify United Against Sexual Assault, and/or an advocate of your choice, so that you will have a support system to assist you through the entire process. An advocate can accompany and support you at sexual assault medical exams, at police and district attorney interviews, and in court. United Against Sexual Assault advocates will further help you with problems that arise with your family, friends, school, work, or housing. Advocates can answer your questions, inform you of your options, advocate for your rights, connect you to counseling and victim funds, and talk with you at any time. Advocate services are confidential.

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Victim's Rights

As a victim of either domestic violence or sexual assault, you have the right to...

    ... be treated with respect, dignity and courtesy no matter what
    your race, age, lifestyle, or occupation.

    ... file a complaint and receive services regardless of the
    relationship between you and the suspect.

    ... the form of communication you find most comfortable.

    ... have a counselor throughout the entire process.

    ... privacy when meeting counselors or law enforcement officers.

    ... receive an explanation about all procedures and forms.

    ... voice complaints and expect to have them heard.

    ... talk about, or not talk about, what happened to you.


Victim's Resources Important Phone Numbers

    EMERGENCY 9-1-1
    Dispatch 565-2121
    Patrol Desk 565-2650
    Business 565-2511
    Crime Prevention Unit 565-3107
    Sonoma Valley Substation 996-9495
    Guerneville Substation 869-0202
    Roseland Substation 545-7267
    Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Unit 565-8290 Fax 565-8299
    YWCA 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline 546-1234

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Legal Assistance

    YWCA Temporary Restraining Order Clinic 546-1234/546-7115
    Petaluma Peoples Service Center 765-8488 or 795-6629
    Sonoma County Legal Services 546-2924

Victim Assistance

    YWCA Counseling for Women in Abusive Relationships 546-1234
    District Attorney Domestic Violence counselor 565-2311
    The Victim/Witness Project 565-2002
    State of California Office of Criminal Justice Planning 24-hour hot line for victims of all types of crimes. (800)-VICTIMS

Emergency Shelters

    YWCA-Women's Emergency Shelter 546-1234
    Manna House 576-1471
    People for Economic Opportunity Emergency Housing 544-6911

Crisis Counseling Hotlines

    YWCA 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline 546-1234
    Sonoma County Mental Health 576-8181
    Social Advocates for Youth 546-3432
    Protective Services for Children 565-2246
    Orenda Center Hot Line 528-4141
    United Against Sexual Assault of Sonoma County (UASA) 545-RAPE
    Sonoma Valley Crisis Line 938-HELP

Emergency Food and Clothing Supply, Transportation, Information and Referral

    YWCA of Sonoma County Rummage Sale 546-9922
    Friends in Sonoma Helping (F.I.S.H.)
    Santa Rosa 565-5151
    Sonoma Valley 996-0111
    Petaluma 762-0330

Marriage and Family Counseling

    County Mental Health Outreach:
    Cloverdale 894-3313
    Guerneville 887-1331
    Petaluma 769-5270
    Sonoma 996-3644/546-8540

    Family and Community Counseling Services* 545-4551
    California Parenting Institute*
    Santa Rosa 585-6108 / 525-8545
    *A nominal fee may be requested for services.

Counseling For Offenders

    Sonoma County M.E.N. 528-2636

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