Elder / Dependent Abuse
Info Sheet for Self-Help Services - Restraining Orders

Self-Help Services - Restraining Orders


What is Elder or Dependent Abuse?

Abuse of an elder or a dependent adult is abuse of:

  • Someone 65 years old or older; or
  • A dependent adult, who is someone between 18 and 64 that has certain mental or physical disabilities that keep him or her from being able to do normal activities or protect himself or herself.

The law says elder or dependent adult abuse is:

  • Physical abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation, abduction (taking the person out of the state against his or her will), or other behavior that causes physical harm, pain, or mental suffering; OR
  • Deprivation by a caregiver of things or services that the elder or dependent adult needs to avoid physical harm or mental suffering.

Read about the law in Welfare and Institutions Code section 15610.07 (external site ).

If you are an elderly person or a dependent adult being abused in any of these ways or you feel afraid or controlled by a family member, a spouse/partner or former spouse/partner, or a caregiver, it may help you to talk to a counselor, even if you do not want (or are not sure if you want) to ask for legal protection. Find counselors and resources in your county.

Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse Restraining Order Criteria

You can ask for an elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order if:

  • You are 65 or older, OR
  • You are between 18 and 64 and have certain mental or physical disabilities that keep you from being able to do normal activities or protect yourself;


You are a victim of:

  • Physical or financial abuse,
  • Neglect or abandonment,
  • Treatment that has physically or mentally hurt you, or
  • Deprivation (withholding) by a caregiver of basic things or services you need so you will not suffer physically, mentally, or emotionally.

Your situation may meet the requirements for the elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order and the domestic violence restraining order (like if the person abusing you is a spouse or partner, or a child or grandchild). If this is your case, talk to a lawyer or legal aid agency to find out what is the best option for you. Your local domestic violence agency or local legal services offices may be able to help you.

What a restraining order CAN do?

A restraining order is a court order. It can order the restrained person to:

  • Not contact or go near you, your children, other relatives, or others who live with you;
  • Stay away from your home, work, or other places you go to a lot;
  • Move out of your house (even if you live together); and
  • Not have a gun.

Once the court issues (makes) a restraining order, it goes into a statewide computer system. This means that law enforcement officers across California can see there is a restraining order in place.

What effect does a restraining order have on the restrained person?

For the person to be restrained, the consequences of having a court order against him or her can be very severe:

  • He or she will not be able to go to certain places or to do certain things.
  • He or she might have to move out of his or her home.
  • He or she will generally not be able to own a gun. (He or she will have to turn in, sell or store any firearms he or she has and not buy a gun while the restraining order is in effect.)
  • The restraining order may affect his or her immigration status. If you are worried about this, talk to an immigration lawyer to find out if you will be affected.

If the person to be restrained violates the restraining order, he or she may go to jail, or pay a fine, or both.

Online Request for Elder or Dependent Abuse:

NEW: You can complete and use eSubmit to file your domestic violence forms online. Please print and read the instructions for completing domestic violence forms & eSubmit (pdf ) before you begin.

After completing your forms, use eSubmit to file your Elder / Dependent Abuse Forms (above).

Fillable Form Packet:

If you think you may be a victim of abuse, please call the National Hotline for additional information at  1.800.799.7233 or  1.800.787.3224 (TDD)

Getting Help

You do not need a lawyer to ask for (or respond to) a restraining order. BUT it is a good idea to have a lawyer, especially if you need special assistance of any kind.

The court process can be confusing and intimidating. Both people will have to see each other in court, and both will have to tell the judge details of what happened in a public courtroom. Having a lawyer can help make the process easier to handle.

For the person asking for protection

Most cities or counties have legal aid agencies that help people ask for an elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order. These services are usually free or very low cost. Look for help in your area before you try to do it on your own.

Some places to start are: