The Partnership develops its annual policy priorities through discussions with its membership. Our priorities include both legislative changes and systems change efforts to strengthen responses to domestic violence, protect victims and hold perpetrators accountable. In addition to our identified priorities, the Partnership actively supports and opposes many bills each year.
State and Federal Funding to Support Domestic Violence Programs
- Safeguard state funding for local domestic violence shelters - State funding is an essential component of shelter budgets, and must be sustained so that shelters can meet their communities’ needs for victim services. The Partnership advocates for the state budget maintains critically needed funding for domestic violence shelters.
- Ensure state and federal funding proposals support victim services - Recognizing the critical need for victim services funding, the Partnership engages on all funding proposals to ensure that they address the needs of programs. In addition to shelter funding through the state General Fund, the Partnership advocates for sustained federal funding and provides input on funding bills related to victim services.
The Partnership, together with its membership, has identified the following legislative priorities for 2015.
AB 418 (Chiu) - Early Lease Termination
Current law allows a survivor to terminate a residential lease early, based upon providing their landlord with a statement from a health professional, domestic violence counselor, a sexual assault counselor, or a human trafficking caseworker that he or she is a survivor of abuse. This provision is due to sunset on January 1, 2016. AB 418 will remove this sunset date. To further address the economic security needs of survivors, AB 418 will also decrease the maximum rent liability for a survivor from 30 days to 14 days and require the landlord to account for and return as required the survivor’s security deposit within 14 days after the tenant quits the premises.
Failure to Protect Audit Request
When cases where domestic violence is present come to the attention of Child Welfare Services, often the non-abusive parent, who is also the victim of domestic violence, is charged with “failure to protect” the child from witnessing domestic violence or experiencing abuse at the hands of the other parent. These charges and the subsequent actions can have a devastating impact on the parent and on the child. To gather comprehensive statewide data on this troubling issue, the Partnership is urging the legislature to request an audit of how these cases are handled by Child Welfare Services and Dependency Court.
SB 592 (Leyva) - Healthy Relationships and Safe Schools Act
Adolescent relationship abuse is a pervasive problem with far-reaching, negative impacts on CA youth, families, schools, and communities. This bill will require middle and high schools to provide education on healthy relationships and adolescent relationship abuse, and to respond to adolescent relationship abuse in their school safety plans.
Additional Policy Priorities
The Partnership also advances policy issues through non-legislative efforts. For 2015, we are focused on the following topics:
- Restraining order enforcement. For many survivors, a restraining order is an essential piece of his or her overall safety plan, and enforcement of these orders is critical. The Partnership is working with its member programs to develop tools and gather resources to assist advocates in their work with survivors on restraining order enforcement.
- Human Trafficking. Recognizing the intersections between human trafficking and domestic violence, the Partnership provides training and technical assistance to local domestic violence programs on how to serve trafficking survivors and disseminates relevant information and resources.
- Diversion. The Partnership is working closely with its members to gather information on the use of diversion in domestic violence cases with a focus on how to ensure batterer accountability through our criminal justice system.
Ongoing Areas of Focus
- Address language and court access issues for survivors - The court system plays a critical role in keeping survivors safe, and the court budget cuts and reductions in services and hours have made access to the system increasingly difficult. For survivors with limited English proficiency, the lack of interpretation when interacting with law enforcement and throughout court proceedings can put survivors’ safety at risk. The Partnership monitors and responds to issues of language and court access that impact survivors.
- Increase safety for immigrant survivors of domestic violence - The Partnership recognizes the overwhelming number of survivors who are faced with immigration issues, and continues to take action on the connections between immigration and domestic violence. The Partnership addresses the unique needs of these survivors and the ways in which existing systems hinder the safety, needs, and autonomy of immigrant survivors by facilitating dialogue, engaging in research, and creating and distributing educational resources for both advocates and immigrant survivors in our communities.
- Improve local level dating abuse policies and practices within school districts - Preventing adolescent dating abuse is an important strategy for supporting California’s youth and preventing future adult domestic violence. The Partnership works with local and statewide leaders on education and adolescent health and well-being to strengthen local capacity and promote local school policies and institutional practices to support healthy relationships and prevent adolescent dating abuse.
The Partnership works closely with the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) on federal advocacy efforts, including advocating for sustained federal funding for domestic violence programs. Every year, representatives from the Partnership travel to Washington, DC to ensure that the needs of programs and victims are heard in Congress. You can visit NNEDV’s website for more information about federal policies that impact survivors.
Look up your elected officials, find out about bills related to domestic violence, take action on current legislative issues.
Engaging all of our members in advocacy efforts is essential to our success. The decisions made in Sacramento and Washington DC directly impact programs and victims, and legislators need to hear from you. The following tools and resources will help you effectively engage in policy efforts.
- Interested in doing more? Find out about our Public Policy and Research Committees.
- Find additional policy information and Partnership publications.
- Know the rules for non-profits engaging in advocacy work. The Alliance for Justice has helpful information.
- Understand the legislative process in Sacramento and Washington, DC.