Laws are in place to protect elders and dependent adults from being abused. “Elder” means age 65 and older. “Dependent adult” means anyone between the ages of 18 and 64 who has physical or mental limitations that restrict his or her ability to carry out normal activities or to protect his or her rights. The legal definition, found at Welfare and Institutions Code 15610.23 includes people with developmental disabilities or whose physical or mental abilities have diminished because of age as well as people in this age group who are inpatients in a 24-hour health facility as defined by the Health and Safety Code.
Requests for restraining orders of this type come to Court from different sources:
- Organizations such as Legal Assistance to the Elderly, Cooperative Restraining Order Clinic or Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach
- Adult Protective Services of the Human Services Agency of San Francisco
- A conservator may apply on behalf of a conservatee (either as part of the existing conservatorship case or as a separate new elder abuse case);
- A person with power of attorney may apply on behalf of the authorizing person; and
- A qualifying individual may apply on his or her own behalf.
Forms for elder or dependent adult abuse are mandatory. There is no filing fee.
Persons without an attorney should visit the Self-Help ACCESS Center in The Civic Center Courthouse, Room 009, 400 McAllister St., San Francisco. After visiting the Family Law Self-Help Center, file elder abuse forms in the Civic Center Courthouse Room 103, at Windows 24, 25 or 26.
- Requests for temporary restraining orders may be filed in the Probate Department if the elder for whom protection is sought is subject to an active Conservatorship. A request submitted by 10 a.m. will be available for pick-up by 2:30 p.m. the same day. Requests submitted after 10 a.m. will be available for pick-up by 2:30 p.m. the next court day.
- Hearings on permanent restraining orders are held in Department 204 of the Civic Center Courthouse on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. A hearing date is assigned by the time the papers are picked up in Room 103. A hearing date may also be set by a Judicial Officer at the time of issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and in those cases may be set on any Monday-Friday at 1:30 p.m. The hearing date will be within 20 days, or 25 days with showing of good cause.
- Requests for restraining orders must be personally served on the respondent and a proof of service filed with the Court. The Sheriff’s Department will serve them free of charge (and file the proof of service) if the petitioner takes the papers to Room 456 in City Hall. If service cannot be completed before the hearing, the temporary restraining order may be extended and the hearing continued for two weeks by filing form EA-115.
- At the hearing the Judge may issue a “permanent” restraining order effective for three years. It can be renewed for another three years or permanently.
- Elder and dependent adult restraining orders are controlled by Welfare & Institutions Code Sections 15610.07 and 15657.03.