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Date Rape and Legal Options in California

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Recently updated on May 8th, 2024 at 12:10 am

Overview

Date rape is when someone is sexually assaulted by a person they know, especially in a romantic or potentially sexual relationship.

Date rape typically involves a female victim who knows the perpetrator. It occurs within the context of an existing or past romantic or sexual relationship between the individuals involved. The perpetrator may use physical or psychological intimidation to coerce the victim into unwanted sexual activity. This can also happen when the victim is unable to give consent, such as when they are incapacitated by alcohol or drugs.

The United States Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reports that date rapes are among the most common forms of rape. College students are particularly vulnerable, especially when alcohol is involved or date rape drugs are used. Women aged 16 to 24 are often the most targeted group for these incidents.

Date rape is slightly different than acquaintance rape which is a broader term that includes sexual assaults between people who have a non-romantic, non-sexual connection, like being co-workers or neighbors.

Options for the victim

File a criminal case

A victim can call 9-1-1 or local law enforcement (e.g. San Francisco Police) to file a date report.

Date rape is a serious crime under Penal Code Section 261(a)(3)-(4) in California, and survivors deserve support and protection.

If convicted of date rape in California, the abuser would face severe consequences with lasting implications for their life. Rape is a serious offense in the state, and potential penalties include:

  1. Custody in state prison for up to eight years or felony probation.
  2. Disqualification from private employment, especially in roles involving children and many public sector companies.
  3. Travel restrictions to international destinations.
  4. Negative immigration consequences, possibly leading to deportation or the revocation of U.S. citizenship.
  5. Inability to foster children or denied adoption petitions.
  6. Denied admission to institutes of higher education and no access to financial aid.
  7. Limited participation in specific volunteer work.
  8. Restricted access to certain dating websites or applications.
  9. Revocation and denial of professional licenses.
  10. Limited access to public facilities, such as community pools or parks.

Sex Offender Registry

A date rape conviction will result in a lifetime duty to register as a sex offender (California Penal Code 290)

Note that when the victim is at least 18 and is incapable of giving consent due to a mental disorder or developmental or physical disability, rape is only a tier two offense carrying just a twenty-year registration requirement. California Senate Bill 384 recently created the three-tier sex registration system.

Sue for “Date Rape”

Victims of acquaintance rape have the right to sue for sexual assault in California. It is not necessary to secure a criminal conviction first. In fact, charges do not even need to be filed.

Possible compensatory damages for a victim of acquaintance rape can recover include:

  • Medical bills,
  • Psychological counseling,
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity, and
  • Pain and suffering

A victim may even be entitled to punitive damages.

File for a restraining order

A restraining order provides legal safeguards designed to help people who have experienced various forms of abuse in intimate relationships. The specific type of restraining order that applies here is called Domestic Violence Restraining Order

They work by legally preventing the alleged abuser from contacting or harassing the victim. While these orders mainly deal with domestic violence, they also apply to other forms of abuse, such as date rape.

What if I am Under 18 years of Age

Restraining orders can be requested by anyone 12 years or older, and without your parent's permission.  If you are under 18, then in some situations , a judge may ask you to have a trusted adult help you in your case after you have filed for the petition. such as a parent a counselor or a neighbor.

If you are under 18, you can go to your local court's Self-Help Center for help. For support and safety tips, you can chat at loveisrespect.org, text "LOVEIS" to 22522, or call 1-866-331-9474.

If you are 12 or older and someone has asked for a restraining order against you, you can go to court without a parent. In some situations, the judge may ask you to have a trusted adult help you in your case.

How DVROs Can Help Date Rape Survivors in California?

Here are the benefits of DVROs:

Protection from Abusers:

Survivors of date rape may find themselves in ongoing relationships with their abusers, encompassing emotional manipulation, stalking, or physical violence following the sexual assault. In such situations, DVROs can be a great legal tool in safeguarding survivors and prohibiting further contact with the abuser.

Custody and Visitation Restrictions

DVROs can address issues related to child custody and visitation, providing additional protection for victims who share children with the abuser.

Evidentiary Support

To secure a DVRO in California, it is necessary to demonstrate a pattern of abusive behavior. Survivors of date rape can utilize emotional and psychological abuse experienced before or after the sexual assault as critical evidence when seeking a DVRO.

Safety

A DVRO issued in California plays a key role in ensuring the safety of survivors by legally requiring the abuser to stay away and not contact the victim. By providing a legal barrier, a DVRO prevents situations which can escalate or cause fear to the victim.

Support Network

DVROs offer swift protection and relief for survivors, allowing them to regain a sense of security. DVROs often come with access to support services, such as counseling and shelters, which can aid survivors in their recovery.

Research findings on benefits of restraining orders

Here's the top three findings from a study on domestic violence and restraining orders from the University of New Hampshire

Reduce ViolenceReduce Violence

Civil protective orders (such as a DVRO) are effective in reducing partner violence for many women. For half the women in the sample, a protective order stopped the violence. For the other half, the orders significantly reduced violence and abuse.

Cost Effective

Cost Effective

They are a relatively low-cost solution, particularly when compared with the social and personal costs of partner violence.

Countryside

Urban Vs. Rural

The impact of civil protective orders on reducing violence and abuse did not differ for rural and urban women. In rural areas where resources and services for partner violence may be more limited, the restraining orders hold greater importance.

Process for Restraining Orders

Step 1: Gather Evidence

The first step is to gather the evidence to support your case. The fallowing are considered as evidence of domestic violence

Evidence Type 1: Pending Criminal Case

Judges are also more likely to issue an order if there is an ongoing criminal case, therefore it's important to call such cases out when seeking a temporary restraining order.

When a judge sees that there's a criminal case happening, they might think it means the police or the district attorney are pretty sure they can prove the crime happened.

Examples of evidence are:

Evidence Type 2: Photos of violence, injuries, damage

These are the most common types of evidence submitted. These can be photos of victim's injuries inflicted by the abuser. It is helpful to add photos next to the related incident description to help create a complete picture for the judge.

Evidence Type 3: Print outs of messages, emails or transcripts of voicemail

You can take screenshots of text messages and attach them. Similarly you can print emails and attach them as pictures or PDF files. While in most cases you cannot submit digital files such as

Evidence Type 4: 911 Calls

Rather than just saying you called 911 or any specific hotline, you can make your case stronger by listing the following items

  • The number dialed in case of the domestic hotline
  • The date and time (or approximate date and time) when the call was made
  • Who made the call
  • What was reported on the call
  • Any specific details of the person who answer the 911 call e.g. male/female voice

Evidence Type 5:  Medical Records

.You can attach documentation of previous medical emergencies or injuries that resulted from the actions of the abuser. These could be hospital visit records, print outs from your hospital portal (E.g. mychart) showing details of your visit.

Evidence Type 6:  Police reports

You can attach a copy of the police reports filed against abuser for domestic violence.

Evidence Type 7:  Testimony

  • A testimony from a witness. The witness can be anyone such as a family member, neighbor a co-worker or a bystander. The testimony is just an essay written describing the incidents witnessed, with as many specifics as possible.

Step 2: Get a copy of court forms 

In order to apply for a civil protection order, you need to fill and submit a specific set of official California court forms. These have questions aimed at understanding your situation and the people involved.

The most important form is the DV-100

Form Name Form Number Purpose Guide
Request for Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DV-100) DV-100 Ask the judge for a restraining order and tell the judge why you need one. Ask for a restraining order
Confidential CLETS Information CLETS-001 The information on this form will help police enforce your restraining order. The court will not use the information on this form and the person you want a restraining order against will not get a copy. Ask for a restraining order
Notice of Court Hearing DV-109 The court will complete most of this form. You only need to complete numbers 1 and 2. Ask for a restraining order
Temporary Restraining Order DV-110 The court will complete most of this form. You only need to complete numbers 1, 2, and 3. Ask for a restraining order
Optional: Income and Expense Declaration  FL-150 Use this form if you are asking for attorney's fees, spousal support, or child support. This form asks how much money you earn and what your expenses are. Attach proof of your income (like paystubs) from the past two months to the form.
Response to Request for Domestic Violence Restraining Order DV-120 Leave this form blank. Your server will give this copy to the person you need protection from. Sheriff serves your papers
Proof of Personal Service (CLETS) DV-200 Use this form to prove to the court that the restrained person has been served in person. Your server fills out and signs the form. Sheriff serves your papers

 

If you have children together, and also want child custody, parenting time, or child support orders:

Form Name Form Number Purpose Guide
Request for Child Custody and Visitation Orders DV-105 Ask the judge for custody orders if you have children with the person you want a restraining order against. Ask for a restraining order
Child Custody and Visitation Order DV-140 On form DV-140, complete items 1 and 2 and the judge will complete the rest of this form. If you are asking for the parent to be supervised during their visits with your child, you will also need form DV-150. Complete items 1 and 2 on form DV-150 and the judge will complete the rest of this form.
Optional: Request for Order: No Travel With Children DV-108 If you believe that the other parent may take your child without your permission, you can ask the court to protect against this. To ask a judge for orders to prevent child abduction, you must complete form DV-108.  This form is optional because you do not have to ask for these orders if you want to ask for custody.
Optional: Request for Order: No Travel With Children DV-145 On form DV-145, complete items 1 and 2. If the judge grants your request, the judge will complete the rest of this form and include it with form DV-110. This form is optional because you do not have to ask for these orders if you want to ask for custody.
 Income and Expense Declaration  FL-150 If you want to ask for child support, check number 13 on form DV-100. Then fill out the FL-150. The FL-150 asks how much money you earn and what your expenses are. Complete this form and attach proof of your income (like paystubs) from the past two months to the form.

The complete set of documents is at the California Courts website. While these forms are used in most courts, certain courts use modified versions of these forms, and its important to uses those versions.

Tip: You can check your local court's website to see the exact versions and set of court forms needed. You need to prepare these forms. Courts also offers a free self help center where you can take forms. Alternatively you can use a free website such as LegalAtoms to prepare the restraining orders paperwork online.

 

Nothing happens until you file the forms. So its a good idea to step through the forms even if you think you don't plan to file for a protection order right now, to get

You can then file them online when you've thought through all aspects.  There are special protections for victims, and you're protected even if your immigration status is undocumented in United States.

 

Step 3: File the Court Forms

Typically these are filed at your county's Superior Courts or District Court. Some of these courts are also called Family Justice Center.

Step 4: Get a Temporary Order 

Depending on the facts and evidence presented, a Judge can issue a restraining order with immediate effect until the hearing, called an Emergency Temporary Order.  In relatively less risky situations, a temporary order is issued in a few days.

If there are no grounds or if the application is incomplete or the jurisdiction is incorrect the application may be rejected.

The temporary order is only valid for about 3 weeks which is the amount of time until the hearing. If the hearing is delayed for any reason, you need to check with the court to ensure the temporary order is renewed until the hearing.

Step 5: Serve the abuser 

 

Step 6: Present Evidence in a Court Hearing 

Attend a hearing: The court holds a hearing within a couple of weeks where the evidence is examined. If there is sufficient supporting evidence as determined by a Judge, a full restraining order is issued. At this point it becomes a crime for the abuser to break the conditions of the restraining order.

 

L.A. County court to staff: Get COVID vaccine or get fired - Los Angeles Times

 

Step 7. Collect the Final Order

After the hearing, a final order may be issued. You can take a paper copy of the order with you. The order is typically valid for five years.

Costs

There are no costs associated with a Domestic Violence Restraining Order.

  • FREE forms : You can get the court forms for free, or prepare them using the guided experience below.
  • FREE filing: There is fees for filing. Online filing platforms may charge a service fees

 

Process Duration

You can get a temporary protection order the same day as you file.

Courts can have a cutoff of around 2 p.m.  for the same day service, so you need to file before then. Otherwise, the order would be issued the following day when courts open.

Courts are generally open Monday-Friday and closed on Saturday-Sunday.

The temporary order is valid until a formal hearing is held in which both parties need to be present. Typically a hearing is scheduled in 2 weeks of filing.

At the hearing a formal order may be issued

 

Risks

It is conceivable that following the submission of a civil protection order, the abuser particularly in domestic violence situations may react with anger due to the perceived loss of control over you and your household. In certain instances, the abuser may portray themselves as the victim and shift blame onto the actual victim they were mistreating.

The response of your abuser after the filing of a protection order is unpredictable. While a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) can provide legal protection, one should not automatically assume that it guarantees safety. The initial weeks post-filing can be particularly precarious, contingent on your abuser's reaction.

Despite the safeguards intended by a DVPO, abusers may retaliate through various means, such as:

  1. Physical assault or violence
  2. Harming or taking away children
  3. Damaging jointly owned property
  4. Disregarding the order and persisting with threats, possibly through intermediaries
  5. Inflicting harm or causing harm to pets
  6. Harassing your loved ones for information
  7. Engaging in stalking behavior
  8. Initiating a retaliatory restraining order against you
  9. Spreading false information about you in court documents, online, or publicly

Following the submission of a domestic violence Protection order, it's important to continuously assess your situation and prepare for the potential escalation of your case into more violent territory.

 

 

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