BILL NUMBER: SB 557 AMENDED BILL TEXT AMENDED IN SENATE APRIL 5, 2011 INTRODUCED BY Senator Kehoe (Coauthors: Assembly Members Atkins and Fletcher) FEBRUARY 17, 2011 An act to add Title 5.3 (commencing with Section 13750) to Part 4 of the Penal Code, relating to family justice centers. LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST SB 557, as amended, Kehoe. Family justice centers. Existing law provides for various services and programs to assist victims of crime, including grants to proposed and existing child sexual exploitation and child abuse victim counseling centers and prevention programs, and the establishment of a resource center to operate a statewide, toll-free information service consisting of legal information for crime victims and providers of services to crime victims. This bill would authorize a city, county, or city and county to establish a multiagency, multidisciplinary family justice center to assist victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, and human trafficking, to ensure that victims of abuse are able to access all needed services in one location and to enhance victim safety, increase offender accountability, and improve access to services for victims of crime, as provided. The bill would permit the family justice centers to be staffed by law enforcement, medical, social service, and child welfare personnel, among others. The bill would authorize a family justice center to share information pursuant to an informed consent process, as provided. The bill would authorize the National Family Justice Center Alliance, subject to certain limitations, to maintain nonidentifying, aggregate data on victims receiving services from a family justice center and the outcomes of those services. The bill would provide immunity from civil liability to staff members of the center for information shared with others based on an established client consent procedure, provided that the center has a formal training program with mandatory training for all members, as specified. Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no. State-mandated local program: no. THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: SECTION 1. Title 5.3 (commencing with Section 13750) is added to Part 4 of the Penal Code, to read: TITLE 5.3. Family Justice Centers 13750. (a) A city, county, or city and county may establish a multiagency, multidisciplinary family justice center to assist victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, and human trafficking to ensure that victims of abuse are able to access all needed services in one location in order to enhance victim safety, increase offender accountability, and improve access to services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, and human trafficking. (b) For purposes of this title, the following terms have the following meanings: (1) "Abuse" has the same meaning as set forth in Section 6203 of the Family Code. (2) "Domestic violence" has the same meaning as set forth in Section 6211 of the Family Code. (3) "Sexual assault" means an act or attempt made punishable by Section 220, 261, 261.5, 262, 264.1, 266c, 269, 285, 286, 288, 288.5, 288a, 289, or 647.6. (4) "Elder abuse" means an act made punishable by Section 368. (5) "Human trafficking" has the same meaning as set forth in Section 236.1. (c) For purposes of this title, family justice centers shall be defined as multiagency, multidisciplinary service centers where public and private agencies assign staff members on a full-time or part-time basis in order to provide services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, or human trafficking from one location in order to reduce the number of times victims must tell their story, reduce the number of places victims must go for help, and increase access to services and support for victims and their children. Staff members at a family justice center may be comprised of, but are not limited to, the following: (1) Law enforcement personnel. (2) Medical personnel. (3) District attorneys and city attorneys. (4) Victim-witness program personnel. (5) Domestic violence shelter service staff. (6) Community-based rape crisis, domestic violence, and human trafficking advocates. (7) Social service agency staff members. (8) Child welfare agency social workers. (9) County health department staff. (10) City or county welfare and public assistance workers. (11) Nonprofit agency counseling professionals. (12) Civil legal service providers. (13) Supervised volunteers from partner agencies. (14) Other professionals providing services. (d) Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, or human trafficking shall not be required to participate in the criminal justice system or cooperate with law enforcement in order to receive counseling, medical care, or other services at a family justice center.
(d)(e) All family justice centers are encouraged to maintain an informed consent process to authorize any sharing of confidential, privileged, or protected information between individuals or agencies working within a center. "Informed client consent" shall refer to a process established by a family justice center to inform the victim of all applicable confidentiality provisions of state and federal law, inform the victim of the implications of waiving of these confidentiality provisions, and a written process for authorization to share information within a center. A victim may authorize the disclosure and sharing of information among partner agencies for the purposes of providing enhanced services. Authorization may be limited in terms of individuals and agencies with whom and with which information is shared and the duration of time under which information may be shared. (e)(f) An authorization by a victim for sharing information within a family justice center pursuant to this section shall not be construed as a universal waiver of any existing evidentiary privilege which holds that communications or documents between the victim and any service provider, including, but not limited to, any lawyer, advocate, therapist, doctor, or nurse, are confidential. Any oral or written communication or any document authorized by the victim to be shared for the purposes of enhancing safety and providing more effective and efficient services to the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, or human trafficking shall not be disclosed to any third party, unless that third-party disclosure is authorized by the victim, required by other provisions of state or federal law, or by court order. (f)(g) Family justice centers may use one comprehensive informed consent form to permit sharing of information among partner agencies to the extent that the form allows the victim to select which agencies may share confidential information for the purposes of providing needed services. (g)(h) No individual staff member, volunteer, or agency that has victim information governed by this section shall be required to disclose that information unless authorized by the victim or as otherwise required to be disclosed by other provisions of state or federal law, or by court order. It is the intent of the Legislature to allow the sharing of information by a partner agency only if the agency has an authorization from the victim and is for the purposes of providing services to that victim within a family justice center. (h)(i) A disclosure of information authorized by the victim in a family justice center, for the purposes of clinical assessment, risk assessment, safety planning, or service delivery, shall not be deemed a waiver of any privileges or confidentiality provisions provided for in Sections 2263, 2918, 4982, and 6068 of the Business and Professions Code, the lawyer-client privilege protected by Article 3 (commencing with Section 950) of Chapter 4 of Division 8 of the Evidence Code, the physician-patient privilege protected by Article 6 (commencing with Section 990) of Chapter 4 of Division 8 of the Evidence Code, the psychotherapist-patient privilege protected by Article 7 (commencing with Section 1010) of Chapter 4 of Division 8 of the Evidence Code, the sexual assault counselor-victim privilege protected by Article 8.5 (commencing with Section 1035) of Chapter 4 of Division 8 of the Evidence Code, or the domestic violence counselor-victim privilege protected by Article 8.7 (commencing with Section 1037) of Chapter 4 of Division 8 of the Evidence Code. 13751. (a) The National Family Justice Center Alliance (NFJCA) may, subject to authorization from each individual victim, maintain nonidentifying, aggregate data on victims receiving services from family justice centers and the outcomes from the services provided. The NFJCA may, for evaluation and monitoring purposes, report to the Legislature annually by April 30th of each year on the findings and outcomes documented by each center in the preceding year. Any report submitted by NFJCA to the Legislature shall be submitted pursuant to Section 9795 of the Government Code. (b) Any family justice center may, subject to authorization from each individual victim, provide nonidentifying, aggregate data on victims receiving services and the outcomes from services provided to the NFJCA by February 28th of each year for all victims receiving services in the preceding year. (c) Confidential records maintained by the NFJCA shall not be subject to disclosure to any third party without the written authorization by the victim who originally provided the information to a particular family justice center. Under no circumstances shall any identifying information or confidential personal information about a victim be disclosed by the NFJCA, unless required by federal law. 13752. (a) Subject to subdivision (c), no individual staff member, volunteer, or agency professional of a family justice center shall be civilly liable for information shared with other partner agencies if a victim authorized the disclosure of that information pursuant to Section 13750. (b) Subject to subdivision (c), no family justice center shall be liable for maintaining confidential victim information for the purposes of providing nonidentifying aggregate information to the NFJCA on an annual basis. (c) The immunity from liability pursuant to subdivisions (a) and (b) is contingent upon the existence of a formal family justice center training program with mandatory training for all staff members, volunteers, and agency professionals of not less than eight hours per year on subjects, including, but not limited to, confidentiality, information sharing, risk assessment, safety planning, victim advocacy, and high-risk case response.