BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    






                             SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE
                             Senator Noreen Evans, Chair
                              2013-2014 Regular Session


          AB 849 (Garcia)
          As Amended May 24, 2013
          Hearing Date: June 25, 2013
          Fiscal: Yes
          Urgency: No
          NR


                                        SUBJECT
                                           
                   Protection of victims: address confidentiality

                                      DESCRIPTION  

          This bill would allow an application to the Secretary of State's  
          Safe at Home program to be completed at a community-based  
          assistance program that serves victims of elder or dependent  
          adult abuse.  This bill would also require the Secretary of  
          State to conduct outreach activities to identify and recruit  
          agencies to assist victims, as specified, in applying to the  
          Safe at Home program. 

                                      BACKGROUND  

          The California Legislature, in recognition of the need of  
          special protection for California's vulnerable elder and  
          dependent adult population, has enacted significant criminal and  
          civil protections for elders and dependent adults.  In 1983, the  
          Legislature determined that crimes against dependent adults  
          deserved special consideration and established enhanced criminal  
          penalties against individuals who perpetrate crimes, including  
          great bodily harm, infliction of pain, endangerment, and false  
          imprisonment, against dependent adults.  In 1986, the  
          Legislature extended these protections to elders.  

          In 1992, the Legislature enacted SB 679 (Mello, Ch. 774, Stats.  
          1991), which established the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult  
          Civil Protection Act (EADACPA).  EADACPA provides enhanced civil  
          remedies to ensure adequate representation of and protection for  
          victims of elder or dependent adult physical and financial abuse  

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          and neglect.  

          Additionally, with the passage of SB 489 (Alpert, Ch. 1005,  
          Stats. 1998), the Legislature established the Safe at Home  
          Program within the Office of the Secretary of State (SOS) to  
          allow victims of domestic violence to apply for a substitute  
          address to be used in public records in order to prevent their  
          assailants, or potential assailants, from finding their work or  
          home address.  Through subsequent legislation, the program has  
          been expanded to include victims of sexual assault, stalking,  
          and reproductive health care service providers, employees,  
          volunteers, and patients.  (See SB 1318 (Alpert, Ch. 562, Stats.  
          2000), AB 205 (Leach, Ch. 33, Stats. of 2000), and AB 797  
          (Shelley, Ch. 380, Stats. 2002).)

          Similarly, this bill seeks to ensure that eligible victims of  
          elder or dependent adult abuse are able to apply for the  
          protections of the Safe at Home Program. 

                                CHANGES TO EXISTING LAW
           
           1.Existing law  , the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil  
            Protection Act (EADACPA), generally provides civil protections  
            and remedies for victims of elder and dependent adult abuse  
            and neglect. (Welf. & Inst. Code Sec. 15600 et seq.)

             Existing law  defines "abuse of an elder or dependent adult" as  
            either: physical abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment,  
            isolation, abduction, or other treatment with resulting  
            physical harm or pain or mental suffering; or the deprivation  
            by a care custodian of goods or services that are necessary to  
            avoid physical harm or mental suffering.  (Welf. and Inst.  
            Code Sec. 15610.07.)

             Existing law  establishes an address confidentiality (or Safe  
            at Home) program within the Office of the Secretary of State  
            in order to enable state and local agencies to both accept and  
            respond to requests for public records without disclosing the  
            changed name or address of a victim of domestic violence,  
            sexual assault, or stalking.  Existing law permits any such  
            adult victim, or parent or guardian acting on behalf of a  
            minor or incapacitated person, to apply through a  
            community-based victims' assistance program to have an address  
            designated by the Secretary of State as his or her substitute  
            mailing address.  (Gov. Code Sec. 6205 et seq.)  

                                                                      




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             Existing law  provides that upon proper application and  
            certification, applicants will be certified in the program for  
            four years, unless certification is withdrawn or invalidated.   
            Existing law also provides that the Secretary of State shall  
            establish for a renewal procedure.  (Gov. Code Secs. 6205,  
            6206(c), 6215(e).)

             Existing law  requires that an applicant to the address  
            confidentiality program based on domestic violence, sexual  
            assault or stalking complete an application in person at a  
            community-based victims' assistance program.  Applicants are  
            required to meet with a victims' assistance counselor and  
            receive orientation information about the program.  Existing  
            law additionally requires the application to include a sworn  
            statement that the applicant has good reason to believe that  
            he or she is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or  
            stalking, and fears for his or her safety.  (Gov. Code Sec.  
            6206(a).)

             This bill  would additionally authorize an applicant to  
            complete his or her application at a community-based program  
            that serves victims of elder or dependent adult abuse, as  
            specified. 
           2.Existing law  requires the Secretary of State to designate  
            state, local, and nonprofit agencies that provide counseling  
            and shelter to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault,  
            and stalking to assist victims in applying to the Safe at Home  
            Program. (Gov. Code Sec. 6206.)

             This bill  would also require the Secretary of State to conduct  
            outreach activities to identify and recruit agencies who  
            assist victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or  
            stalking in applying to the Safe at Home program. 

                                        COMMENT
           
           1.Stated need for the bill
           
          According to the author:

            Victims of elder or dependent adult abuse are not identified  
            in [the] Government Code?as persons who are eligible to  
            participate in the State's address confidentiality program.   
            There are cases in which an abused elder or dependent adult  

                                                                      




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            needs to keep his or her address confidential to escape  
            further abuse. 

           2.Furthers the purpose of the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult  
            Civil Protection Act (EADACPA)
           
          As introduced, this bill would have amended the Government Code  
          to expressly authorize victims of elder and dependent adult  
          abuse to apply to the Safe at Home program.  While most types of  
          elder and dependent adult abuse would qualify a victim to apply  
          to the program, financial abuse, which falls under the  
          definition of elder and adult dependent abuse, would not.   
          Consequently, the Secretary of State (SOS) asserted that the  
          anti-stalking<1> provisions in existing law are broad enough to  
          encompass an elder or dependent adult who has been harassed by  
          an abuser to such an extent that he or she must relocate.  The  
          bill was then amended to clarify that the elderly and dependent  
          adults are eligible to participate in the program through  
          enrollment in an existing community-based victims' services  
          organization, and by authorizing agencies that serve elders and  
          dependent adults to assist them in enrolling in the Safe at Home  
          program, and requiring the SOS to identify and recruit such  
          agencies where necessary. 

              a.   Consistent with existing law

             Staff notes that this bill, which clarifies that agencies  
            which serve victims of elder and dependent adult abuse may  
            enroll victims in the Safe at Home program, is consistent with  
            existing law which authorizes adults who have experienced  
            domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking to enroll in  
            the Safe at Home program.  In addition, existing law assumes  
            that elders and dependent adults are currently participating  
            in the program.  For example, AB 454 (Silva, Ch. 101, Stats.  
            2012) required notice regarding a request to cancel or modify  
            a protective order be given by service on the Secretary of  
            State when a protected party is registered with the Safe at  
            Home Program.  That bill expressly included victims of elder  
            or dependent adult abuse, and thus presumed that an elder or  
            dependent adult victim could fall under the umbrella of  
            --------------------------
          <1> See e.g., Pen. Code Sec. 646.9 which defines stalking as any  
          person who willfully, and maliciously harasses another person  
          and who makes a credible threat with the intent to place that  
          person in reasonable fear for his or her safety, or the safety  
          of his or her family.

                                                                      




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            eligible applicants to the Safe at Home program. 

              b.   Available resources for enrolling elders and dependent  
               adults in the Safe at Home Program
                
            This bill would authorize agencies that serve victims of elder  
            or dependent adult abuse to assist victims of domestic  
            violence, sexual assault, or stalking in the Safe at Home  
            program, and would require the Secretary of State to conduct  
            outreach activities to recruit agencies. 

            To enroll in the Safe at Home program, a participant must  
            enroll via an enrolling agency, either a registered as a  
            501(c)3 California non-profit agency with a focus on victim  
            services, or a county victim/witness assistance program. These  
            counselors provide one-on-one assistance to victims and may  
            help redirect individuals who would be better served by a  
            different program or service.  Arguably, as amended, this bill  
            clarifies that counselors at these enrolling agencies are  
            authorized to assist elders and dependent adults who are  
            victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking in  
            enrolling in the Safe at Home program, as well as any other  
            adult victim.  

            Furthermore, every county in California has an Adult  
            Protective Services (APS) office where county staff evaluates  
            elder and dependent adult abuse cases and arranges for  
            services such as advocacy, counseling, money management,  
            out-of-home placement, or conservatorship. (See  
             [as of  
            June 18, 2013].) These offices should be able to direct elders  
            and adult dependents to counselors who are authorized to aid  
            them, if eligible, in enrolling for the Safe at Home program.   
            Additionally, many APS offices may wish to be trained to  
            enroll elders and dependent adults in the Safe at Home program  
            under the outreach provisions of this bill. 


           Support  :  California Police Chiefs Association; California State  
          Sheriffs' Association; Chief Probation Officers of California;  
          California District Attorneys Association; WISE Healthy Aging;  
          National Association of Social Workers -- California Chapter

           Opposition  :  None Known


                                                                      




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                                       HISTORY
           
           Source  :  Consumer Federation of California; Legal Assistance to  
          the Elderly, Inc. 

           Related Pending Legislation  : None Known

           Prior Legislation  :

          AB 2483 (Blumenfield, Chapter 102, Statutes of 2012) removed the  
          requirement that victims alleging stalking as the basis of their  
          eligibility for the address confidentiality program provide  
          specific evidence attached to the application.  

          SB 1082 (Corbett, Chapter 270, Statutes of 2012) made a number  
          of changes to the Safe at Home Program, including requiring  
          applicants and participants of the program to be domiciled in  
          California, and authorizing a minor participant to renew his or  
          her participation upon reaching 18 years of age.

          AB 906 (Galgiani, 2012) would have authorized witnesses who have  
          testified in murder trials to participate in the Safe at Home  
          program.  This bill died on the Senate Appropriations Suspense  
          File.  

          AB 454 (Silva, Chapter 101, Statutes of 2011) See Comment 2. 

          SB 1062 (Bowen, Chapter 639, Statutes of 2006) added victims of  
          sexual assault to the list of eligible Safe at Home program  
          participants.

          AB 792 (Shelley, Chapter 380, Statutes of 2002) See Background. 

          SB 1318 (Alpert, Chapter 562, Statutes of 2000) See Background.

          AB 205 (Leach, Chapter 33, Statutes of 2000) See Background.

          SB 489 (Alpert, Chapter 1005, Statutes of 1998) See Background.

           Prior Vote  :

          Assembly Floor (Ayes 76, Noes 0)

                                                                      




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          Assembly Appropriations Committee (Ayes 17, Noes 0)
          Assembly Judiciary Committee (Ayes 10, Noes 0)

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