What is the legal definition of Domestic Violence in California

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The legal definition of domestic violence in California is written in California Family Code 6211 (Ann.Cal.Fam.Code § 6211)

For “Domestic violence” to have occurred there are two conditions that must be both be true

  1.  Abuse must have occurred
  2. The relationship between the victim and the abuser is one of the qualifying relationships




Abuse means
  1. To intentionally or recklessly cause or attempt to cause bodily injury.
  2. Sexual assault.
  3. To place a person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to that person or to another.
  4. To engage in any behavior that has been or could be enjoined pursuant to Section 6320.
Abuse is not limited to the actual infliction of physical injury or assault.

Qualifying Relationships

1.  A spouse or former spouse such as husband/wife, registered domestic partners



2.  A cohabitant or former cohabitant. “Cohabitant” means a roommate or in legal language, a person who regularly resides in the household. “Former cohabitant” means a person who formerly regularly resided in the household. This term is defined in the California Code Section 6209.


3.  A person with whom the respondent is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship.



4.  A person with whom the respondent has had a child, where the presumption applies that the male parent is the father of the child of the female parent under the Uniform Parentage Act (Part 3 (commencing with Section 7600) of Division 12).



5.  A child of a party or a child who is the subject of an action under the Uniform Parentage Act, where the presumption applies that the male parent is the father of the child to be protected.



6.  Any other person related by consanguinity or affinity within the second degree. This includes:


  • Children
  • Parents
  • Brother or Sister
  • half-brother or Sister
  • step-brother or sister;
  • grandparents
  • niece
  • nephew
  • uncle
  • aunt

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