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Steps to take before filing a restraining order

Posted at 6:26 PM, Nov 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-19 21:26:40-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- As San Diegans come to grips with the violence that unfolded in a Paradise Hills home, leaving a mother and her young boys dead, District Attorney Summer Stephan tells 10News it is a problem that San Diego is becoming too familiar with.

“Domestic violence remains the number one killer of women in the United States and right here in San Diego,” said Stephan.

She revealed the County of San Diego had 18 murders last year related to domestic violence.

RELATED: Resources available to domestic violence victims

Stephan said a third of those murders involved people who had active restraining orders.

“We want victims to know that a restraining order is a piece of paper and that it alone is not going to protect the victim,” she said.

According to Stephan, the first 72 hours after filing a restraining order are the most vulnerable for retaliation and victims need to have a plan in place.

RELATED: Document details chilling text messages sent to woman killed in Paradise Hills murder-suicide

“In the first 72 hours after somebody obtains a restraining order the risk is heightened,” she said. “There is almost an escalation of risk.”

One important piece of advice for victims after filing a restraining order, is to leave the home the offender knows of.

“What we say is for a victim to get a restraining order, but only after there has been a safety plan and there has been a threat assessment by professionals.”

Across the county, there are a number of resources available to help put a plan together.

“There's a family justice center run by the City Attorney Mara Elliott, there's a center for community solutions with a 24 hour number,” she said.

More resources are also listed on the DA’s website