Family Law

Family Law News Issue 1, 2021, Volume 43, No. 1

Defining "Coercive Control" in the Domestic Violence Prevention Act

Emily E. Rubenstein

Emily E. Rubenstein has been a practicing attorney in California since 2014. She focuses her Los Angeles practice on family law exclusively. She currently serves on the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Judicial Appointments Committee and Access to Justice Committee. Ms. Rubenstein previously served as co-president of the LGBTQ+ Lawyers Association of Los Angeles.

The Basics of the Domestic Violence Prevention Act

California’s Domestic Violence Prevention Act (DVPA) was passed in 1993. It provides domestic violence victims with immediate legal protection in the form of restraining orders and other injunctions against abusers.1 Under the DVPA, the court may issue a domestic violence restraining order upon reasonable proof of one past act or multiple past acts of abuse.2 While people of goodwill can certainly agree that domestic violence is a pervasive societal issue and that victims need protection, the exact way to effectuate this protection is always evolving.

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