What We Do
Marjaree Mason Center provides emergency and longer-term Safe Housing, along with a wide variety of support services for victims of domestic violence in Fresno County.
The Marjaree Mason Center provides a variety of services including legal advocacy, court accompaniment, education and other services to victims of domestic violence.
The Marjaree Mason Center has victim advocates co-located at the Fresno Sheriff’s Office and the Fresno Police Department. These advocates contact victims who have reported domestic violence to these agencies. Advocates offer clients crisis intervention, support, education on the criminal justice system, safety planning, and connect them with community resources.
The Legal Options Class is free and open to the community. It is held every Thursday and begins promptly at 10am at MMC’s administration building in downtown Fresno. This class can help walk clients through filling out a request for a Domestic Violence Temporary Restraining Order or a Gun Violence Restraining Order. The class also provides an overview of all the various types of restraining orders available, the criminal justice system, safety planning, and other services available to them. Some of the information you can expect to be covered includes:
Emergency Protective Order (EPO)
Issued by a judge at the request of law enforcement, who has been called out to respond where there is a danger of domestic violence, child abuse, abduction or elder abuse. An EPO can include orders for care and control of a inor, residence move-out orders, and a stay away order. EPOs are granted for 5 to 7 days and cannot be extended once they expire.
Criminal Protective Order (CPO)
Issued by a judge after criminal charges has been files against the defendant. CPO will remain in effect from the moment charges are filed and until the court reaches a verdict. If the person is found guilty, the CO issued will remain in effect. If charges are dismissed, the CPO will no longer be in effect protecting the victim(s). This order can also include protection of children but does not grant child custody.
Civil order Prohibiting Harassment (OPH)
This type of order can be requested by a victim, against someone whom they are not closely related to, or have not had an intimate relationship with. This includes a neighbor, a landlord, or a co-worker. An order can be issued stating the respondent must stay away from you and not harass you. This type of order can be granted for up to 5 years.
Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO)
Intimate partner gun violence affects far too many of our communities. In 2021, there were 82 domestic violence homicides in the State of California. A GVRO is a court order that prohibits someone from owning, possessing, or having access to firearms or ammunition who poses a significant risk of harm to themselves or others. If an order is granted, the restrained person will be ordered to turn it in, sell, or store any prohibited items such as firearms, firearm parts, ammunition, and magazines. Law enforcement will remove items, or the person can store them with a licensed gun dealer while the order is in effect. The restrained person also cannot buy any of the prohibited items during this time. The Marjaree Mason Center can help individuals fill out a request for gun violence restraining order against someone they’ve dated or had an intimate relationship with; however, a GVRO in the State of California is also available to:
- Family members (parents, children, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts, and half-siblings) of the person named in the petition;
- Current or recent household members of the person named in the petition;
- co-workers, and
The Marjaree Mason Center is currently working on a public awareness campaign focused on Gun Violence Restraining Orders and the assistance and supportive services that are available to victims of domestic violence. This project is supported by funding from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence.
Temporary Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVTRO)
The Marjaree Mason Center can help individuals through the process of filling out a request for a DVTRO. A victim may request this type of order through the Family Law Court against anyone who they have dated or had an intimate relationship with. These relationships include:
- domestic partners,
- in a dating relationship,
- in an intimate relationship,
- share a child together, or
- the victim is or a household member.
DVTRO’s may be granted to anyone 12 years of age or older. The specific terms and conditions of a restraining order will vary from case to case. However, all orders include provisions that prevent the restrained person from having any contact with the protected person. A Judge can grant a restraining order to protect an individual, their children, their property, or their pets. This type of order can include but is not limited to no contact, not harassing, stay away, move out, not have access to or own firearms or ammunition, spousal support, child support and child custody for children in common. Temporary orders must be served to the restrained party by law enforcement or anyone over the age of 18 (who is not a protected party). Once a judge has granted the order. Law enforcement can be called to enforce the order if there is any violation. At the hearing, a judge can grant the order for up to 5 years.
A restraining order can be renewed 90 days (about 3 months) before expiration if you feel you are still at risk. No new violence needs to have occurred. A renewal can be issued as a permanent order with no expiration date.
Family Code Section 3044
Presumption as to award custody to person who has perpetrated domestic violence within the previous 5 years against the other party seeking custody of the child, or against the child or the child’s siblings.
A service provided by staff at the Marjaree Mason Center; where an advocate can accompany a victim to their hearing to offer emotional support, review court process, and discuss legal options for victims. Click on Court Accompaniment below to learn more.
To learn more about your legal options, a domestic violence temporary restraining order, or a gun violence restraining order, call our hotline at (559) 233-HELP (4357) or attend our legal options class available every Thursday at 10 a.m. in Fresno. For information on classes in Clovis and Mendota, call the hotline number mentioned above.
The court process can be overwhelming for those seeking a restraining order. Victim Advocates attend restraining order hearings with clients. For many victims, their abusers control the finances and are able to obtain attorneys. Advocates create a more level playing field by keeping victims informed of their legal options. If you are seeking accompaniment to your restraining order hearing, you can contact our administration office at (559) 237-4706.
For clients seeking restraining orders with more complicated legal issues, advocates may refer to Project First Step attorney. Project First step is a program where pro bono attorneys represent clients at their restraining order hearings. This service is provided in partnership with Central California Legal Services, Inc.