BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  SB 557
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   June 28, 2011

                           ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY
                                  Mike Feuer, Chair
                     SB 557 (Kehoe) - As Amended:  June 15, 2011

                    PROPOSED CONSENT (As Proposed to be Amended)

           SENATE VOTE  :   39-0

           SUBJECT  :  FAMILY JUSTICE CENTERS

           KEY ISSUE  :  IN ORDER TO BETTER HELP VICTIMS OF ABUSE, SHOULD A 
          PRIVATELY FUNDED, TWO-YEAR STUDY BE MADE OF FOUR FAMILY JUSTICE 
          CENTERS IN CALIFORNIA? 

          FISCAL EFFECT  :   As currently in print this bill is keyed 
          non-fiscal.

                                      SYNOPSIS

          The Family Justice Center (FJC) model, first developed in 
          California in 2002 in San Diego, establishes a coordinated, 
          single-point-of-access center offering comprehensive services 
          for victims of domestic violence, thereby reducing the number of 
          locations a victim must visit in order to receive critical 
          services and improving access to those services.  This bill, 
          sponsored by the National Family Justice Center Alliance, 
          authorizes, until January 1, 2014, the creation and evaluation 
          of four FJCs to assist victims of domestic violence, sexual 
          assault, stalking, cyberstalking, cyberbullying, human 
          trafficking, and elder or dependent adult abuse.  The required, 
          independent evaluation is due to the Legislature by January 1, 
          2013.  

          To address concerns that had been raised about confidentiality 
          of information and privacy protection, this bill includes a 
          number of provisions requiring informed consent, limiting the 
          sharing of information between FJC partner organizations and 
          requiring proper training of all FJC staff and volunteers.  As a 
          result of these amendments, there is no longer any opposition to 
          this bill, as proposed to be amended.  This bill unanimously 
          passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee last week.

           SUMMARY  :  Authorizes, until January 1, 2014, the creation and 








                                                                  SB 557
                                                                  Page  2

          evaluation of four FJCs to assist victims of domestic violence, 
          sexual assault, stalking, cyberstalking, cyberbullying, human 
          trafficking, and elder or dependent adult abuse.  Specifically, 
           this bill  : 

          1)Allows, until January 1, 2014, the cities of San Diego and 
            Anaheim, and the counties of Alameda and Sonoma to establish 
            multi-agency, multi-disciplinary FJCs to assist victims of 
            domestic violence, officer-involved domestic violence, sexual 
            assault, elder or dependent adult abuse, stalking, 
            cyberstalking, cyberbullying, or human trafficking, as defined 
            and depending on the availability of services, to ensure 
            victims of abuse are able to access all needed services in one 
            location in order to enhance victim safety, increase offender 
            accountability and improve services to victims.  

          2)Defines a "family justice center" as a multi-agency, 
            multi-disciplinary service center where public and private 
            agencies assign staff members to provide services to victims 
            of crime from one location in order to reduce the number of 
            times victims must tell their story, reduce the number of 
            places victims must go to for help, and increase access to 
            services and support for victims and their children.  Provides 
            that staff members may be either full-time or part-time and 
            may be comprised of, but are not limited to, the following:

             a)   Law enforcement personnel;
             b)   Medical personnel;
             c)   Victim-witness program personnel;
             d)   Domestic violence shelter staff;
             e)   Community-based rape crisis, domestic violence, and 
               human trafficking advocates;
             f)   Staff from social service agencies, child welfare 
               agencies and county health departments;
             g)   City or county welfare and public assistance workers;
             h)   Nonprofit agency counseling professionals;
             i)   Civil legal service providers;
             j)   Supervised volunteers from partner agencies; and
             aa)  Other professionals providing services

          3)Provides that victims of crime 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 FJC.









                                                                  SB 557
                                                                  Page  3

          4)Provides that victims of crime shall not be denied services on 
            the grounds of criminal history.  Provides that no criminal 
            history search shall be conducted of a victim at a FJC without 
            the victim's written consent, unless the criminal history 
            search is pursuant to an active criminal investigation.

          5)Requires each FJC to consult with domestic violence, sexual 
            assault, elder or dependent adult abuse, stalking, 
            cyberstalking, cyberbullying, and human trafficking agencies 
            in partnership with survivors of violence and abuse and their 
            advocates, in the operations process of the FJC, and to 
            establish procedures for the ongoing input, feedback, and 
            evaluation of the FJC by survivors of violence and abuse and 
            community-based crime victim service providers and advocates. 

          6)Requires each FJC to develop policies and procedures, in 
            collaboration with crime victim service providers and 
            survivors of violence or abuse, to ensure coordinated services 
            are provided to victims and to enhance the safety of victims 
            and professionals at a FJC who participate in affiliated 
            survivor-centered support or advocacy groups.  Requires each 
            FJC to maintain a formal client feedback, complaint, and input 
            process to address client concerns about services provided or 
            the conduct of any FJC professionals, agency partners, or 
            volunteers providing services in a FJC.

          7)Requires each FJC to maintain an informed client consent 
            policy that must be in compliance with all state and federal 
            laws protecting confidentiality, as provided.  Provides that 
            at no time shall a victim be required to sign a client consent 
            form to share information in order to access services.  
            Requires each FJC to inform the victim that information shared 
            with FJC staff may be shared with law enforcement, as 
            provided, and requires each FJC to obtain a written 
            acknowledgment that the victim has been informed of this 
            policy.  Provides that information obtained from victims in 
            FJCs is privileged and confidential to the extent it is 
            protected under state law.  States that a victim's consent to 
            share information pursuant to a consent policy shall not be 
            construed as a waiver of confidentiality or any privilege held 
            by the victim or FJC professionals.

          8)Requires the National Family Justice Center Alliance, with 
            private funds, to contract with an independent organization to 
            conduct an evaluation and prepare a report on the four pilot 








                                                                  SB 557
                                                                  Page  4

            centers.  Requires the independent organization conducting the 
            evaluation to submit the report first to the Office of Privacy 
            Protection and the National Family Justice Center Alliance for 
            review and comment, and then, by January 1, 2013, to the 
            Assembly and Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committees.  
            Allows the National Family Justice Center Alliance to include 
            any recommendations for statewide legislation, best practices, 
            and model policies and procedures in the comments submitted to 
            the independent evaluation organization and the Legislature.  
            Requires the independent organization to consult with 
            specified groups in developing evaluation criteria, which 
            shall include, but not be limited to:

             a)   The number of clients served, number of children served, 
               reasons for seeking services at the FJC, services utilized, 
               and number of returning clients;
             b)   Filing, conviction, and dismissal rates for misdemeanor 
               and felony criminal cases handled at the FJC;
             c)   Subjective and objective measurements of the impacts of 
               co-located multi-agency services for victims and their 
               children related to safety, empowerment, and mental and 
               emotional well-being and comparison data from victims, if 
               any, on their access to services outside the FJC model;
             d)   Barriers, if any, to receiving needed services including 
               access to services based on immigration status, criminal 
               history, or substance abuse/mental health issues and 
               potential ways to mitigate any identified hurdles to 
               accessing needed services;
             e)   Whether privacy, immigration status, or other barriers 
               prevented victims from utilizing a FJC and, if so, 
               recommendations to improve utilization rates;
             f)   Compliance by the four pilot FJCs, with the service 
               delivery requirements set forth in #s 3-7, above; and 
             g)   Recommended best practices and model protocols, if any.

          9)Requires each FJC to maintain a formal 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, privileges and 
            confidentiality, information sharing, risk assessment, safety 
            planning, victim advocacy and high-risk case response.

          10)Establishes a sunset date of January 1, 2014.

           EXISTING LAW  :








                                                                  SB 557
                                                                  Page  5


            1)   Declares, under the California Constitution, that the 
            right to privacy is an inalienable right.  (California 
            Constitution, Article I, Section 1.)

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

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

            4)   Provides that a victim has a privilege to refuse to 
            disclose, and to prevent another from disclosing, a 
            confidential communication between the victim and a sexual 
            assault counselor, a domestic violence counselor or a human 
            trafficking caseworker.  (Evidence Code Section 1035 et seq.)

            5)   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.)

            6)   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.)

            7)   Authorizes a program for interagency domestic violence 
            death review teams.  Allows each organization to share with 
            other members of the team information in its possession 
            concerning the victim.  States that any information shared by 
            an organization with other members of a team is confidential, 
            but permits the disclosure to members of the team of any 
            information deemed confidential, privileged or prohibited from 
            disclosure by any other statute, as specified.  (Penal Code 
            Section 11163.3.)








                                                                  SB 557
                                                                  Page  6


            8)   Allows the Attorney General to work with various agencies 
            and groups to develop a protocol for the development and 
            implementation of interagency domestic violence death review 
            teams for use by counties, which shall include relevant 
            procedures for both urban and rural counties.  (Penal Code 
            Section 11163.5.)

            9)   Authorizes the Department of Justice, with the 
            cooperation of specified organizations and agencies, to 
            coordinate and integrate state and local efforts to address 
            fatal child abuse and neglect, and to create a body of 
            information to prevent child abuse.  (Penal Code Section 
            11174.34.)

           COMMENTS  :  The FJC model was originally developed in San Diego, 
          which opened a center in 2002.  The idea behind the FJC model is 
          to create a coordinated, single-point-of-access center offering 
          comprehensive services for victims of domestic violence, thereby 
          reducing the number of locations a victim must visit in order to 
          receive critical services.  The United States Department of 
          Justice, through its Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), has 
          identified the FJC model as a best practice in the field of 
          domestic violence.  According to the OVW, documented and public 
          FJC outcomes include a reduction in the rate of homicide; 
          increased victim safety; improved offender prosecution; reduced 
          fear and anxiety for victims and their children; increased 
          efficiency among service providers through the provision of 
          collaborative victims; and increased community support for the 
          provision of services to victims and their children.  (Casey 
          Gwinn and Gael Strack, Hope for Hurting Families:  Creating 
          Family Justice Centers Across America, Volcano Press, 2006.)  
          There are currently fifteen FJCs in California and over seventy 
          centers in the United States. 

          This bill, sponsored by the National Family Justice Center 
          Alliance, authorizes, until January 1, 2014, the creation and 
          evaluation of four FJCs to assist victims of domestic violence, 
          sexual assault, stalking, cyberstalking, cyberbullying, human 
          trafficking, and elder or dependent adult abuse. 

          In support of the bill, the author writes:

            Family Justice Centers have been identified as a "best 
            practice" by the U.S. Department of Justice and involved 








                                                                  SB 557
                                                                  Page  7

            collaboration among public and private, non-profit agencies 
            providing intervention and prevention services to address 
            domestic violence, sexual assault, and other forms of abuse.  
            While the composition of Centers vary by community, the 
            general concept of providing all the services for victims 
            under one roof has been identified as an effective approach to 
            increase safety and offender accountability by avoiding the 
            need for victims to travel from agency to agency, telling 
            their story over and over in order to receive help.  There now 
            have fifteen such Centers in California and fifteen more in 
            early stages of planning.  The Family Justice Center Alliance 
            is the umbrella organization for Family Justice Centers in 
            California and around the United States and gathers 
            non-identifying, aggregate data from existing Centers to 
            document outcomes and impacts of this multi-disciplinary 
            model.  In order to ensure that victims receive the same level 
            of service and privacy protections, there need to be statewide 
            standards for the Family Justice Center model.

           Independent Evaluation to be Done of Four FJCs  :  FJCs offer 
          victims of crime, generally domestic violence victims, a single 
          place to turn to for help.  While FJCs have existed in 
          California for nearly a decade and are expanding throughout the 
          state, there has yet to be a comprehensive study on their 
          operations.  This bill remedies the lack of information by 
          requiring that the National Family Justice Center Alliance, with 
          private funds, contract with an independent organization to 
          conduct an evaluation and prepare a report on FJCs in San Diego 
          and Anaheim, as well as in Alameda and Sonoma Counties.  In 
          order to ensure that the study is comprehensive, the bill 
          requires the evaluator to consult with the four FJCs, the 
          National Family Justice Center Alliance, victims group, 
          community-based crime victim service provider representatives, 
          including one person recommended by the federally recognized 
          state domestic violence coalition, privacy rights organizations 
          and other relevant stakeholders in developing evaluation 
          criteria.  

          The bill sets out some of the criteria that must be evaluated, 
          including specified outcome measures, such as clients served and 
          conviction and dismissal rates; and subjective and objective 
          measurements on the impacts of co-located services for victims 
          related to safety, empowerment, and well-being, as well as 
          comparison data from victims on their access to services outside 
          the FJC model.  The bill also requires an evaluation of the 








                                                                  SB 557
                                                                 Page  8

          barriers, if any, to receiving needed services, based on 
          immigration status, criminal history, substance abuse/mental 
          health issues or privacy concerns, and ways to mitigate such 
          barriers.  Finally, the evaluator is to review compliance of the 
          FJCs with required confidentiality and privacy standards, 
          discussed below.  

          The evaluation report is to be submitted to the Office of 
          Privacy Protection and the National Family Justice Center 
          Alliance for review and comment, and then, by January 1, 2013, 
          to the Assembly and Senate Judiciary and Public Safety 
          Committees.  Both the evaluator and the bill's sponsor, the 
          National Family Justice Center Alliance, may include any 
          recommendations, best practices and model protocols in the 
          materials submitted to the Legislature.

           Pilot FJCs May Offer Services to a Broad Range of Victims  :  FJCs 
          have traditionally provided services to victims of domestic 
          violence.  This bill expands the potential victims served by 
          allowing, but not requiring, the four pilot FJCs to offer 
          assistance to victims of sexual assault, elder or dependent 
          adult abuse, stalking, cyberstalking, cyberbullying, and human 
          trafficking, in addition to domestic violence.  It will be 
          helpful to learn whether any of the pilot FJCs afforded services 
          to this broad range of victim groups and, if so, what were the 
          utilization rates by the various groups.
           
            Confidentiality and Privacy Concerns Addressed in Latest 
          Amendments to the Bill  :  This bill allows for some sharing of 
          crime victims' information with and by staff members and other 
          FJC professionals.  Victims of sexual assault and other victims 
          of crime serviced by FJCs will often provide personal health 
          information or undergo counseling or medical examinations which 
          would fall under medical privacy laws and privilege laws.

          California law provides that confidential communications between 
          victims and sexual assault counselors, domestic violence 
          counselors, and human trafficking caseworkers are privileged 
          communications that may be disclosed upon consent by the victim, 
          or under circumstances where a court orders disclosure of 
          information as relevant evidence for a related criminal 
          proceeding if the court determines that the probative value 
          outweighs the effect on the victim, the counseling relationship 
          and the counseling services.  (Evidence Code Section 1035 et 
          seq.)








                                                                  SB 557
                                                                  Page  9


          Under the federal Health Insurance Portability Act of 1996 
          (HIPAA) medical records and other personal health information 
          are confidential, subject to specified exceptions and 
          procedures.  (Pub. Law 104-191; 45 CFR Pts. 160, 164.)  Under 
          HIPAA, covered entities may disclose protected health 
          information to law enforcement officials for specified law 
          enforcement purposes, such as court orders, to identify suspects 
          or witnesses, to find missing persons, information about a crime 
          victim, notice of death and related matters.

          As this bill has worked its way through the Legislature, various 
          groups have raised concerns about the confidentiality of 
          information shared with FJC partners, particularly the criminal 
          justice partners.  To address those concerns, the bill contains 
          a number of provisions designed to both safeguard information 
          and ensure that victims using the FJC understand how information 
          may be shared between FJC member staff.  Under this bill, as 
          proposed to be amended, each FJC must maintain an informed 
          client consent policy that is in compliance with all state and 
          federal laws protecting the victim's confidentiality, and 
          develop privacy policies and procedures consistent with state 
          and federal privacy laws and the Fair Information Practice 
          Principals.  

          Each FJC must also inform victims that information shared with 
          staff members at a FJC may, under limited circumstances, be 
          shared with law enforcement professionals and must obtain 
          written acknowledgment that the victims have been informed of 
          this policy.  The bill specifies that information obtained from 
          victims is privileged and confidential to the extent it is 
          protected from disclosure under existing California law, and a 
          victim's consent to share information cannot be construed as a 
          waiver of confidentiality or any privilege held by the victim or 
          the FJC staff.   

          Additionally, this bill prohibits searching a victim's criminal 
          history without the written consent of the victim, unless the 
          search is pursuant to an active criminal investigation.

          Finally, each FJC is required to maintain a formal mandatory 
          training program for all staff members, volunteers, and agency 
          professionals on, among other things, privilege, confidentiality 
          and information sharing.  









                                                                  SB 557
                                                                  Page  10

           This Bill Seeks to Encourage Collaboration Between Stakeholders  : 
           The objective of an FJC is to bring all victim services 
          together under one roof to provide enhanced assistance to 
          victims.  In order for those various public and private groups 
          to work together optimally, collaboration and coordination is 
          key.  This bill seeks to enhance that collaboration.  First, as 
          discussed above, interested stakeholders will participate with 
          the pilot evaluator in developing the evaluation criteria.  
           Second, each of the four FJCs must consult with community-based 
          victims' organizations, as well as the victims themselves and 
          their advocates, in the operations process of the FJCs.  
          Finally, the FJCs must establish procedures for ongoing input, 
          feedback, and evaluation of the FJCs by victims, advocates and 
          service providers, along with a complaint process.  These 
          required lines of communication should help improve not only the 
          collaboration among the various stakeholders, but also the 
          services delivered to victims.
           
          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support (to the bill as proposed to be amended)  

          National Family Justice Center Alliance (sponsor)
          Disability Rights California
          Solano County Board of Supervisors
          One individual

           Opposition (to the bill as proposed to be amended)

           None on file


           Analysis Prepared by :  Leora Gershenzon / JUD. / (916) 319-2334