BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    ”



                                                                      



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          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                   SB 557|
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                                 THIRD READING


          Bill No:  SB 557
          Author:   Kehoe (D)
          Amended:  05/02/11
          Vote:     21

           
           SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE  :  6-0, 3/29/11
          AYES:  Hancock, Anderson, Harman, Liu, Price, Steinberg
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Calderon

           SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE  :  5-0, 5/10/11
          AYES:  Evans, Harman, Blakeslee, Corbett, Leno


           SUBJECT  :    Family Justice Centers

           SOURCE  :     National Family Justice Centers Alliance


           DIGEST  :    This bill authorizes the City of San Diego, the 
          City of Anaheim, the county of Alameda and the County of 
          Sonoma to create a two-year pilot project for the 
          establishment of a family justice centers and allows for 
          the family justice centers to be staffed by, among others, 
          law enforcement, medical, social service, and child welfare 
          personnel.  The provisions of this bill sunset on January 
          1, 2014.

           ANALYSIS  :    Existing law, the California Constitution, 
          declares that the right to privacy is an inalienable right. 
           (California Constitution, article I, section 1.)

          Existing federal law, the Health Insurance Portability and 
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          Accountability Act of 1996 requires that medical 
          information be kept confidential unless authorized by the 
          patient.  Existing law allows for disclosure to law 
          enforcement personnel for specified purposes.  (Public Law 
          104-191; 45 CFR 160, 164.)

          Existing law provides that a victim of domestic violence 
          has a privilege to refuse to disclose, and to prevent 
          another from disclosing, a confidential communication 
          between the victim and a domestic violence counselor.  
          (Evidence Code Section 1037.5.)

          Existing law provides for the establishment of 
          community-based domestic violence victim shelters and 
          services.  (Welfare & Institutions Code Sections. 
          18290-18309.5.)

          Existing law provides for the California Emergency 
          Management Agency to provide grants to proposed and 
          existing child sexual exploitation and child sexual abuse 
          victim counseling centers and prevention programs, 
          including programs for minor victims of human trafficking.  
          (Penal Code Section 13837.)

          Existing law provides that child protective services 
          agencies, law enforcement, prosecution, child abuse and 
          domestic violence experts, and community-based 
          organizations serving abused children and victims of 
          domestic violence shall develop, in collaboration with one 
          another, protocols as to how law enforcement and child 
          welfare agencies will cooperate in their response to 
          incidents of domestic violence in homes in which a child 
          resides.  (Penal Code Section 13732.)

          This bill authorizes the City of San Diego, the City of 
          Anaheim, the County of Alameda, and the County of Sonoma to 
          create a two-year pilot project for the establishment of a 
          family justice center, as specified.

          This bill defines the Family Justice Center model in the 
          law and expands the reach for whom services will be 
          provided to include, not only victims of domestic violence, 
          but also victims of officer-involved domestic violence, 
          sexual assault, elder abuse, stalking, cyber-stalking, 

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          cyber-bullying, and human trafficking.  This bill also 
          allows for the FJCs to be staffed by, among others, law 
          enforcement, medical, social service, and child welfare 
          personnel.  

          This bill provides that victims of crime will not be denied 
          services based solely on the grounds of criminal history.  

          This bill requires each Family Justice Center to develop 
          policies and procedures to enhance the safety of the 
          victims and professionals at the FJC.  The provisions of 
          the bill sunset on January 1, 2014 requires each family 
          justice center shall maintain an informed client consent 
          policy and shall be in compliance with all state and 
          federal laws protecting the confidentiality of the types of 
          information and documents that may be in a victim's file, 
          including, but not limited to, medical and legal records.  
          Each family justice center shall have a designated privacy 
          officer to develop and oversee privacy policies and 
          procedures consistent with state and federal privacy laws 
          and the Fair Information Practice Principles.  At no time 
          shall a victim be required to sign a client consent form to 
          share information in order to access services.

          A victim's consent to share information pursuant to the 
          client consent policy shall not be construed as a waiver of 
          confidentiality or any privilege held by the victim or 
          family justice center professionals.

          The Office of Privacy Protection in conjunction with the 
          four pilot centers, the National Family Justice Center 
          Alliance, and relevant stakeholders shall develop best 
          practices to ensure the privacy of all family justice 
          center clients and shall submit a report to the assembly 
          committee on Judiciary and to the Senate Committee on 
          Judiciary, no later than January 1, 2013, with 
          recommendations.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  No   
          Local:  No

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  5/17/11)

          City Attorney of San Diego

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          Community Service Programs Victim Assistance Programs
          Family Justice Center Sonoma County
          Family Justice Center Legal Network
          Fresno Police Department Domestic Violence Unit
          Office of the District Attorney County of Shasta
          Office of the District Attorney of Stanislaus County
          San Diego District Attorney
          San Diego Police Department
          Shasta Family Justice Center
          Stanislaus Family Justice Center

           OPPOSITION  :    (Verified  5/17/11)

          ACLU (unless amended)
          Asian Women Speak-Asian and Pacific Islander Advocates 
          against 
             Domestic Violence
          California Partnership to End Domestic Violence
          Casa de Esperanza
          Interval House Crisis Shelters & Centers for Victims of 
          Domestic Violence
          Hermanas Latino Advocates Against Domestic Violence; 
          Privacy Rights 
             Clearinghouse (unless amended)
          Rainbow Services
          Salaam Middle Eastern Advocates Against Domestic Violence; 
          Slavic 
             Voices-Slavic advocates against Domestic Violence
          The African American Network for Violence Free 
          Relationships
          The Center Long Beach (LGBT victim support services)
          Women Shelter of Long Beach

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    The author's office states, this 
          bill defines Family Justice Centers in state law and 
          thereby recognize the growing trend toward innovative, 
          multi-disciplinary, multi-agency service delivery models 
          for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, elder 
          abuse, and human trafficking.

          In addition, this bill clarifies that the current 
          protections of victim's confidentiality continue even if a 
          multi-disciplinary team is working with the victim to 
          enhance safety and support that there is no universal 

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          waiver of confidentiality in relation to third parties not 
          involved in the safety services being provided. 

          Family Justice Centers are a growing trend of providing 
          domestic violence, elder abuse and sexual assault services 
          but there are no standards set for what a family justice 
          center should offer no uniformity, ›and] no standards on 
          confidentiality.

          The sponsor of this bill, the National Family Justice 
          Center Alliance, notes that "the California Legislature has 
          recognized Child Advocacy Centers, Domestic Violence 
          Fatality Review Teams, and other forms of 
          multi-disciplinary intervention in family violence but has 
          never recognized Family Justice Centers."  The sponsor 
          argues that the purpose of the Family Justice Center is to 
          bring all of the services for these vulnerable victims 
          under one roof.  The sponsor contends that "victims are 
          often required to travel from location to location to seek 
          services that are scattered through a community or region.  
          They have to tell their story over and over again to staff 
          members representing agencies, such as, law enforcement, 
          courts, civil legal, medical, transportation, housing, 
          social services, mental health, rehabilitation, financial 
          assistance, and many more.  The criminal justice system 
          unintentionally makes it easy for victims to become 
          frustrated and ultimately stop seeking help.  Faced with so 
          many obstacles, victims often return to their abuser rather 
          than obtaining the necessary services."

           ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION  :    In opposition to the bill, the 
          Partnership to End Domestic Violence (Partnership) has 
          several concerns about authorizing local governments to 
          establish the Family Justice Center (FJC) model.  The 
          Partnership argues that, "California should be consistent 
          with Federal statute and not promote, define or authorize 
          the establishment of a Family Justice Center model over 
          other models as SB 557 would do if passed.  Although SB 557 
          is intended to promote victim safety and batterer 
          accountability by defining Family Justice Centers in state 
          statute, the Partnership strongly believes that the 
          decision to establish Family Justice Centers, or any other 
          type of multi-agency service-delivery program, should 
          reside at the local level.  Because a majority of Family 

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          Justice Centers are primarily led by members of the 
          criminal justice systems, it is crucial that cities and 
          counties continue to seek input and consultation for 
          community-based victim services providers, including 
          representatives from domestic violence crisis and advocacy 
          centers.  We have heard from local advocates that, 'One 
          size does not fit all.'  For example, rather than a 
          one-stop shop, San Francisco has opted not to establish an 
          FJC, based on local DV program input and desire to 
          coordinate services and work to build mutually respectful 
          relationships with the Criminal Legal System, but keep 
          their services separate and equal."

          The Partnership has also expressed concerns regarding the 
          availability of funding.  The partnership states that, "In 
          communities where FJCs have been created, local providers 
          of domestic violence services and shelters are reporting 
          having to compete with FJCs for available funds. While this 
          bill does not seek funding for FJCs, service providers know 
          that there will be future attempts at tapping into already 
          thin funding available for services to crime victims which 
          could divert funding from local non-profits to cities and 
          counties.  The passage of SB 557 would appear to be a state 
          endorsement of a Family Justice Center Model, which will 
          lead to future collaborations that are more innovative or 
          locally relevant to lose out because they are not in state 
          statute. While we have seen some successful Family Justice 
          Centers, there are many that have problematic practices, 
          such as background checks and arrest of victims with 
          warrants, and violation of victims' rights to 
          confidentiality and privilege.  Furthermore, as a statewide 
          coalition representing many groups, including 
          multidisciplinary, multiservice agencies, it is a direct 
          conflict of interest for the Partnership to promote one 
          service model over another."


          RJG:do  5/17/11   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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