Levine Legislation to Help Victims of Domestic Violence File Restraining Orders Online Signed by Governor Newsom

For immediate release:

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Legislation by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D – Marin County) that requires all court facilities that process domestic violence restraining orders (DVRO) and temporary restraining orders (TRO) to allow petitions to be submitted electronically, was signed by Governor Newsom on Friday.

County shelter-in-place orders due to the coronavirus affected all aspects of life and proved to be particularly difficult for victims of domestic violence. AB 887 provides an alternative for survivors of domestic violence that we learned was needed from hardships exposed during the pandemic. As victims’ access to the courts is continuously limited for the foreseeable future, it is paramount that the courts adapt to the rapidly changing needs of the public during and after the pandemic. Not only does AB 887 address the immediate need for access to the courts as we prevent the spread of COVID-19, but this new law will provide a safe alternative for victims to access the courts discretely, to avoid the abuser knowing, after the pandemic.  

Currently, a victim can file a request for a DVRO or TRO in person, which is logistically difficult because of the pandemic and because the abuser is more likely to be aware of the location of the victim. Without alternative methods to file a DVRO or a TRO, victims of domestic violence will continue to be exposed to harm with limited opportunities to escape a dangerous cycle of violence.

“This law provides survivors of domestic violence with the necessary alternative they need to seek refuge from their abuser,” said Assemblymember Marc Levine. “By allowing victims of domestic violence to file these petitions online, they will now have a safer and timelier way to access the courts.”  
AB 887 is supported by The California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists, Change for Justice and others.

“By allowing restraining order requests to be submitted electronically, AB 887 will increase access to the courts for survivors across California for whom going to court in person may create barriers,” said Krista Colón, the Public Policy Director for the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence. “This bill helps to ensure that all survivors have the ability to request needed protections from our court system, in a way that works best for them.”

“We simply cannot stop moving forward with creating additional safe alternatives for victims and survivors to seek safety and justice,” said Avi Levy, Legislative Director for the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists. “AB 887 will increase access to justice and will provide victims with an important option to ensure safe access and prevent future harm to these victims.”

"This is a huge victory for victims of domestic abuse,” said Jennifer Moores, Founder of Change for Justice. “The new law finally gives victims the option to easily and safely be able to access the courts when timing is often so critical. Thanks to Assemblymember Marc Levine's tireless efforts, the California courts will finally be utilizing 21st Century tools to help those who need it most.”

###

Assemblymember Marc Levine represents California’s 10th Assembly District, which includes Marin and Sonoma counties.
Connect with Assemblymember Levine on social media: @AsmMarcLevine.