Abuse is an unlawful act from which the states protect their citizens. In California law, it is defined as:

Family Code 6203:

“ (a) Intentionally or recklessly to cause or attempt to cause bodily injury.

(b) Sexual assault.

(c) To place a person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to that person or to another.”

Abuse is considered as domestic violence if it is committed against

(a) A spouse or former spouse.

(b) A cohabitant or former cohabitant…

(c) A person with whom the respondent is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship.

(d) A person with whom the respondent has had a child, where the presumption applies that the male parent is the father of the child of the female parent under the Uniform Parentage Act…

(e) A child of a party or a child who is the subject of an action under the Uniform Parentage Act, where the presumption applies that the male parent is the father of the child to be protected.

(f) Any other person related by consanguinity or affinity within the second degree.

The persons mentioned above are entitled to protection from abuse, according to the Domestic Violence Prevention Act. Petitions and complaints may be filed against persons who have committed abuse, and it is important to work with a lawyer to fully benefit from the provisions of the said Act and to know the best course of action to take.